Combatting climate change and protecting the environment are among the responsibilities of a global energy organization like Enel as we seek to achieve full decarbonization of electricity production by 2050, thereby contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG 13).
Our strategy is based on a long-term vision with concrete targets. In addition to actions that leverage the generation mix, Enel is active in innovation, digitization, electric mobility, energy efficiency and a range of other efforts. In this scenario, Enel’s commitment to the circular economy, which melds innovation, competitiveness and environmental sustainability, involves all of the Group’s operations in achieving these objectives. In 2017, Enel had about 85 GW in installed capacity, an increase of about 2 GW over 2016 due mainly to the start of operations of new renewable plants in Brazil, Peru, and the United States.
Production in 2017 totaled about 250 TWh, a reduction of about 12 TWh compared with 2016, mainly due to the deconsolidation of the Slovakian plants, and a number of plants in Belgium and North America, only partly offset by the acquisition of new plants. Approximately 43% of Enel’s power generation currently comes from zero-emission sources. In terms of environmental impact, the Group has confirmed its medium-term target for 2020 of reducing specific emissions of CO2 by 25% compared with 2017 (<350 g/kWheq). In absolute terms, CO2 emissions have decreased slightly from 2016; however, given the reduction in total net generation for the Group, specific CO2 emissions increased by 4% compared with the previous year (411 g/kWheq).
Other specific emissions, i.e. SO2 and NOx, also increased slightly in relation to total power generation. Particulates, however, have increased compared with 2016 due to an increase in coal-fired thermal generation in Russia.
With managed capacity1 of about 2.6 GW and managed output of about 7 TWh, the totals came to 87.6 GW of capacity and about 257 TWh of output, respectively. As a result, total zero-emission production is approximately 45% of the total mix, and specific CO2 emissions come to 400 g/kWheq. Enel has implemented specific policies aimed at protecting the environment and natural resources, at combatting climate change, and at contributing to sustainable economic development.
A key element of these policies are our internationally recognized Environment Management Systems (EMS).
Within the scope of our nuclear technology activities, Enel is publicly committed to ensuring that our plants adopt a clear nuclear safety policy and that those facilities are operated based on standards that ensure absolute priority is given to safety and the protection of employees, the general public, and the environment. The policy in respect of nuclear safety is to encourage excellence in all plant activities based on a strategy that seeks to go beyond mere compliance with applicable laws and regulations and to ensure the adoption of management approaches that embody the principles of continuous improvement and managing risk.
Water resource management
Water is an essential part of electricity generation, and Enel is fully aware that the availability of this resource is seen as being a critical part of future energy scenarios. Enel has long sought to enhance the efficiency of its management of the water we use, and we conduct ongoing monitoring of all power plants located in areas threatened by water scarcity at the following levels of analysis:
- periodic mapping of all production sites in order to identify potential risks in terms of water availability;
- assessment of the consumption of freshwater;
- measures to optimize the use of sea water and waste water;
- monitoring of climate and vegetation data for the various sites.
Globally, Enel returns about 99% of the water used, and only 8% of the Enel Group’s total production uses and/or consumes fresh water in water-stressed areas.
In 2017, overall water consumption totaled 126 million cubic meters, a reduction of 15% from 2016 due to the elimination of thermoelectric and nuclear power plants.
Within the scope of total consumption, more than 5% of water is reused, an increase compared with the previous year. Specific demand in 2017 came to 0.49 l/kWheq, a reduction of about 11% from 2016, which is in line with Enel’s commitment to reducing water consumption by 30% compared with 2010 levels by 2020.
Preserving biodiversity is one of the strategic objectives of Enel’s environmental policy. The Group promotes specific projects in the various areas in which we operate in order to help protect local species, their natural habitats, and the local ecosystems in general. These projects cover a vast range of areas, including: inventory and monitoring; programs to protect specific species; methodological research and other studies; repopulation and reforestation; and the construction of infrastructure supports to promote the presence and activities of various species (e.g. artificial nests along power distribution lines or fish ladders at hydroelectric plants).
In 2017, Enel entered into a collaboration with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global authority on the preservation of biodiversity, to enhance the Group’s biodiversity action plans. The IUCN will be helping Enel to assess the biodiversity risks and opportunities associated with our thermal and renewable-energy plants, 1 Capacity operated through joint ventures in the renewables sector in Italy, the United States and Canada. to analyze best practices in order to prevent and minimize the impact of biodiversity at our various sites, and to develop an organizational reporting framework aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).