“The decarbonisation of the energy mix by 2050 is a key element and is one of Enel’s four strategic ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) cornerstones together with responsible relationships with communities, the valorisation of the company’s employees, innovation and operational efficiency”
In 2015 Enel, in its capacity as a large global energy utility, made a formal commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #13 and to contribute to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.
This commitment involved the requirement to measure the company’s progress and communicate the results in a transparent manner. This is the function of Seeding Energies – Sustainability Report 2016, which this year, for the first time, includes a chapter on the decarbonisation of the energy mix as a cornerstone of the strategy of sustainability and the industrial plan of our Group.
“We believe that the transition to a low emission economy is not only significant in terms of ethics and corporate responsibility – science has proved man’s responsibility in the process of climate change – but also as a driver of innovation and a way to create the conditions to enter new markets and enable the Group to be more competitive in a changing energy sector”
In 2016 Enel was admitted to the A-list of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the index most commonly used in sustainable finance to signal to investors the companies that are most pro-active when it comes to climate change. The A-list of the CDP Index includes those companies that, from around 2 thousand participants worldwide, stand out for the effectiveness of their strategy in taking up the opportunities and managing the risks of climate change. The score allowing admittance to the index takes into account the completeness and the transparency of the information provided relating to greenhouse gas emissions.
Progress and targets
In 2016, 46% of Enel’s production of electric energy was zero emission; total production from renewable sources of around 86 TWh, (an increase of 2% on the 2015 figure) avoided the emission into the atmosphere of around 56 million tonnes of CO2.
Also in 2016, the specific quantity of emissions of CO2 generated by our plants was equal to 395 g/kWheq, a reduction of over 3% since 2015. This was due mainly to the lower thermoelectric production from coal in Italy and Spain. Since 2007, the starting point for our target to reduce specific CO2 emissions (or those related to the production of a single kWh) by 2020, the figure has fallen by 15%. Compared with 1990, the year of the Kyoto Protocol, our company’s specific emissions of CO2 have been cut by 36%.
As part of the strategic plan, which is in total synergy with the company’s industrial plan 2017-2019, the group’s investment decisions have led to an increase in renewable capacity on one hand, and on the other, a gradual and selective reduction in the number of thermoelectric plants in the different countries in which we operate.
A strategy based on a long-term vision which translates into tangible objectives: a reduction of 25% by 2020 of the intensity of CO2 emissions compared with 2007 levels, increasing investment in the sector of renewables equal to 5.2 billion euro in the period 2017-2019 and a gradual and selective reduction of the thermal plants in operation in many countries, in addition to the activities of research and development in new low-carbon technologies with the Open Power approach, which involves both internal and external stakeholders.
A new life for thermoelectric generation
Alongside the growth in renewables, our Group’s strategy of decarbonisation also includes the development of plans for the reconversion of fossil fuel plants, combined with targeted activities in diverse sectors, such as energy efficiency, innovation and digitalization, with a particular emphasis on distribution networks and the development of storage systems.
The challenge that we have set ourselves is to guarantee a future to our thermal plants wherever they are in the world. The infrastructure for power generation is large and imposing; thanks to open dialogue with the territories involved, these structures can be reconverted into new forms that respond to the real needs of the community. With this idea we are creating Futur-E, a wide-ranging project for the reconversion of a part of our thermoelectric power stations in Italy. In the two years since its launch, the project has become a model for best practice and is pioneering a pathway that can be replicated in the different countries in which we operate.
“The progressive shift away from the production of electricity from fossil fuels includes the implementation of decommissioning programmes such as the project Futur-E in Italy, which aims to lead, with a wide involvement of all interested parties, the dismantlement of 23 power plants, a total of 13GW of production from non-renewable sources”
In addition to the actions that focus on the energy mix, we are also involved in energy efficiency, innovation and digitalization, while we can count on a transparent and robust system of governance: intelligent networks and digitalisation, distributed generation and isolating networks, increasing energy efficiency through the use of electric technologies.
Energy becomes circular
Within this scenario the circular economy, which combines competitiveness and environmental sustainability, is confirming its importance as the best approach to pursue in order to remain competitive on the market. For this reason in 2016 a plan of activities on the theme of the circular economy was launched in order to boost the existing projects and accelerate and organize the Group’s transition to this way of working.
“Enel is transforming its business model by leading an energy transition focused on the key concept of Open Power, i.e. opening up to and sharing with the outside world, with the aim of creating shared value in addressing the major problems for humanity, with a view to business opportunities”