“In order to encourage new uses of energy, new forms of energy management, greater accessibility to an increasing number of people in a sustainable way, it is necessary to boost innovation in the field of energy”
Microgrids for aiding development in emerging economies
Microgrids represent an innovative business model that requires a range of skills across the entire value chain, in production, distribution and sales.
Microgrids enable the management of operations in areas in which the electricity network is not present (off grid) or is not sufficiently robust (limited grid).
Enel is involved in diverse initiatives in Africa, Latin America and Asia, for example in Ollagüe, in Chile, where a hybrid system provides electricity to a village of 200 inhabitants, involving photovoltaic production, energy storage systems and diesel generators. Enel is developing a similar project on a larger scale in India, where over 270 million people do not have access to electricity.
Innovation Hubs and start-ups: an international scenario
In order to encourage development and the coordination with innovative companies, Enel has promoted 300 innovative projects that cover the entire value chain in diverse geographical locations, 114 partnership agreements, 80 projects from start-ups and business units and markets and three innovation Hubs in Israel, Brazil and Chile. Launched in 2016, the Tel Aviv Hub has focused on the neuronal systems capable of connecting cars, sensors and devices of various kinds, Smart Home technology and Cyber Security, which has become increasingly important in order to counter the new IT threat. In 2017 the new Enel Hub in Berkeley was established in a location that it is fair to describe as the global centre of innovation: Silicon Valley in California.
“Enel has made Open Innovation and digitalization the cornerstones of its industrial strategy in order to develop within a context that is transforming rapidly, guaranteeing high standards of security, business continuity and operating efficiency”
Partnership with leading players from other sectors
In 2016 the Enel Group took part in the project Breakthrough Innovation, dedicated to innovation and new business models in order to work towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs. Of the 17 SDGs those linked to innovation are: SDG 9 (Innovation and infrastructure), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 17 (Partnership for the goals). Many of Enel’s 300 projects have been developed thanks to partnerships with other leading players from other sectors or with the involvement of start-ups capable of developing solutions that are not yet present on the market. In 2016 alone 28 partnerships were established leading to 114 local and global innovation agreements.
Enel honoured for innovation
In 2016 Enel was awarded the Platts Global Energy Award (GEA) in the category of Industry Leadership – Energy. The award acknowledged the Group’s proactive approach in its Strategic Plan that encourages change in the energy sector and its leadership in the fields of innovation and sustainability. Operating efficiency and innovation are the cornerstones of Enel’s Sustainability Plan 2017-2019. For larger scale infrastructure, the target is the installation of 18 million smart meters between 2017-2019, while for ultra broadband in Italy the aim is to provide coverage to 250 council areas and 9.5 million homes by 2020. Concerning partnerships, the goal for 2020 is to select 40 new innovative start-ups for development projects.