Green and digital energy for all

Published on Wednesday, 5 April 2017

“We made a commitment to act, and each day of delay becomes more painful and costlier. We need to build a path, we need to tell this story. Sustainable energy for all means dignity for all”

– Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All

Digitisation and renewables for possible energy

Energy efficiency offers one of the greatest opportunity to ensure access to reliable, sustainable and fair energy, both in developed countries and in rapidly growing countries. The objective is to support an energy transition toward models that rely on decarbonisation and efficiency, reducing waste and increasing the use of renewables.

Electrification and therefore the use of electricity as a privileged vector also in transportation and in all end-uses of energy, together with the development of renewables and the digitalisation of grids and power stations, are the pillars that are driving the growth strategy of Enel which, in 2015, has made a formal commitment to achieving the SDG7.

“6-7 years ago, we started developing our renewables pipeline of different technologies, solar, wind, hydro and geo, and in doing that we tried to avoid incentives and subsidies,” explained Starace speaking at the Forum. He added, “Now we are basically adding over 2,000 MW of new green capacity each year worldwide. As we phase out from thermal and we phase in renewables we will decarbonise progressively. At the end of the period we will have a completely different generation mix than today.”

“To be able to reach the target of complete decarbonisation of generation, the real discriminating factor is the digitisation of grids”

– Francesco Starace, Enel’s CEO

Digitisation favours greater penetration of renewables: smart grids, smart meters, Big Data, sensors and the Internet of Things allow us not only to forecast daily production from sources such as solar and wind power, but also to estimate the energy demand and therefore to balance supply and demand.

Bringing digital technology to energy production and to grids means encouraging the development of smart cities, the efficient use of energy in urban spaces and electric mobility.

Starace also explained that by spreading smart meters and digital measuring and digital control systems, end users, too, will become a key factor of efficiency, since energy management will be increasingly smarter. Thanks to latest generation meters, it is possible to offer innovative services and put energy in the hands of customers who can - through apps and smart devices - schedule and manage consumption remotely.

The Electrification Accelerator deal

Within the framework of the New York forum, in order to support and accelerate the achievement of the UN sustainable development goal #7 (SDG7), Enel and Sustainable Energy for All of the United Nations signed a partnership agreement to create an “Electrification Accelerator.”

The initiative will see Enel lead a working group to encourage electrification that is able to support access to available, reliable and modern energy services at global level.

Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All and Francesco Starace, CEO's Enel

“Enel will provide the UN Secretary General and SEforALL with its experience, leading the development of micro-grids, sustainable mobility, and digitised grids”

– Francesco Starace, Enel’s CEO

Electrification: guiding access to energy

In this scenario, Paul Simons, Deputy Executive Director at the International Energy Agency (IEA), speaking at the panel ‘Marshalling the Evidence,’ stressed that one of the great challenges for governments, utilities and industry is the “decarbonisation of electricity,” focusing on new technologies capable of balancing, enabling and spreading the use of renewables. A prerequisite condition is to broaden the horizon of energy efficiency in the transportation sector as well, with the aim of reducing emissions from fossil sources.

“Electrification of the global fleet of cars is the key to the decarbonisation of transportation ”

– Paul Simons, Deputy Executive Director at the International Energy Agency