Enel Green Power: energising Australia’s sustainable future
28 April 2022
Enel Green Power (EGP) harnesses energy from the sun, wind and water to power a sustainable future. The Italian company manages more than 1,200 power plants on five continents, helping drive the shift to a decarbonised society.
One of Enel Group’s primary focuses is decarbonising the Group by 2040. Australia presents one of the best opportunities to build its renewable capacity.
‘Enel Green Power takes a disciplined approach to sustainability,’ says Werther Esposito, Managing Director at EGP Australia.
‘We are committed to making the company – and the communities in which we operate – more prosperous, more inclusive, and more resilient.’
Australian business is central to EGP’s goals
EGP began operating in Australia in 2019. The company has three solar plants and 309 MW of installed capacity. Two plants are near Port Augusta in South Australia, and the third is in Cohuna in Victoria.
In April 2022 EGP also signed a renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with BHP. The agreement is for 100% of the output of BHP’s Flat Rocks Wind Farm Stage One, located inthe shires of Kojonup and Broomehill-Tambellup, in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia.
This includes energy and all Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs), supplying approximately 315 GWh per year of renewable electricity for 12 years.
‘At global level, Enel Green Power’s mission is to reach a total renewable capacity, including battery capacity, of around 154 GW by 2030,’ says Esposito. ‘This would triple our 2020 portfolio, allowing us to bring forward our Net Zero commitment by 10 years from 2050 to 2040.’
In this regard, Australia’s sun-soaked plains, wind patterns and ample space make it ripe for renewables. Esposito also highlights a federal-level commitment to combating climate change. He believes this has strengthened the confidence of global renewables investors in the Australian energy market.
‘With innovation and sustainability at the heart of our strategy, we want to strengthen our clean energy portfolio by supporting Australia’s transition to meet its net zero targets by 2050,’ he says.
Change is in the air, skies and seas
Esposito says he is seeing a growing appetite for sustainable energy. In 2021, renewable energy contributed a third of the total power generation to the National Energy Market.
‘Australia is making great progress on its journey to decarbonisation,’ he notes. ‘We expect to see a ninefold increase in utility-scale renewable capacity – from 15 GW to 140 GW of solar and wind – by 2050.’
Jobs for regional Australia
‘As Australia’s energy sector transitions to renewables, it’s important we think about how we can create a positive transition for communities in regional Australia,’ says Esposito.
For instance, our EGP’s Bungala solar project is doing just that for the Port Augusta community, two years after its final coal-fired power station was decommissioned.
EGP launched a professional training scheme for the Indigenous community of Port Augusta. This helped more than 70 workers gain new skills and find work on the project.
‘This is part of our commitment to creating shared value,’ says Esposito. ‘It means delivering affordable and sustainable energy, while also looking after the needs of the communities in which we operate.’
Delivering clean energy direct to consumers
Alongside sister company Enel X, EGP plans to become an integrated green retailer offering affordable, reliable renewable power to Australian customers. EGP will initially target commercial and industrial customers. It may include residential customers as its pipeline grows, since EGP sees the mass market as a possible natural extension for the future.
‘Enel Australia will offer up to 100% renewable energy contracts,’ says Esposito. ‘This will help customers meet sustainability objectives while reducing their costs.’
The retail offering is backed by EGP’s renewable generation and battery storage and bundled with Enel X’s technologies and services.
‘Our aim is that the market recognises us as a greener alternative to the traditional energy retailers within Australia,’ says Esposito. We look forward to delivering on our promise to provide the energy solutions required to shift Australia into a new era of abundant, reliable, and low-cost energy.’
Valued partnerships help EGP deliver on its mission
EGP recently partnered with Agriculture Victoria to bring its agrivoltaic program to Australia.
The program integrates land-based farming activities with solar power plants. Together, the organisations are developing an Agrivoltaic Research Project at Cohuna Solar Farm.
‘New models for decarbonised development, such as co-land use, can increase land productivity at large-scale solar farms,’ says Esposito. ‘This project aligns with Enel Green Power’s aim to produce clean energy more efficiently.’
In addition to its research projects, in 2021 EGP partnered with Monash University to extend its award-winning Green Steps program. The program offers practical sustainability training and consultancy projects for emerging university leaders.
Assistance from Austrade
Esposito says Austrade has been instrumental in EGP’s expansion in Australia.
‘Austrade has helped unlock local market opportunities, assisting the EGP business to grow in Australia,’ he says. ‘We have used Austrade’s network to turn local market connections and insights into valuable investment opportunities.’
Looking forward to a sustainable future
EGP has ambitious growth plans for Australia. The company is looking for a financial partner to support the expansion of its renewables portfolio. In addition to wind, solar and storage technologies, EGP is considering green hydrogen for future projects.
‘Enel Green Power wants to help solve Australia’s energy trilemma of ensuring energy security, reliability, and affordability,’ says Esposito. ‘We look forward to delivering on that promise.’
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