Major renewable investment plans revealed by Enel

Italian energy company Enel has announced plans to invest €10.6bn in renewable energy projects by 2021, totalling a generation capacity of 11.6GW. This includes 6.1GW of wind power.

At a Capital Markets Day investment event on 20 November, Enel laid out its carbon-free production strategy, in which it aimed for a rise from 48% to 62% of carbon-free production over the period 2019-2021.

Enel CEO Francesco Starace said: “In this plan, we are pushing the development of increasing quantities of renewables, leveraging on our geographical and technological presence and our know-how.”

At the forefront of the strategy was an increase in wind power capacity from 8.1GW in 2018 to 14.2GW by 2021.

Solar power capacity will also increase from 1.9GW to 5.2GW over the next three years, with additional gains in hydropower and geothermal power.

The move comes as Enel begins to wind down its thermal projects, with power plants totalling 7GW of energy set to cease operations over the same period.

Enel’s greater investment in wind power is most noticeable across its North and Central American portfolio, which is expected to double from 2.9GW to 5.8GW over the period.

In South America, capacity will almost double, from 1.6GW in 2018 to 3.1GW in 2021. In October this year, the company also began construction on a 475MW solar park in Brazil.

Enel wind assets in Europe are also set to benefit from increased investment, with wind farms across Spain and Portugal expected to grow from 1.8GW to 2.6GW. In the company’s home nation of Italy, wind power will reach 1GW.

Across other European and North African countries, Enel will add 0.7GW to its portfolio and another 0.4GW across its African, Asian and Oceanian assets.

Starace stressed the importance of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) for increasing the capacity of renewable energy projects globally.

“Renewables development is increasingly the customer’s choice,” he said in a presentation at the event. “Alongside the US, where Enel has signed several corporate PPAs over the last few years, interest in corporate deals is now also keen in Mexico and Central and Latin America.

“I think the next big market for corporate PPAs will be Europe. It will take time but it will happen, because business is business everywhere.”

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