To ensure the energy transition takes place smoothly, industrial ecosystems that create value for customers through cooperation must emerge
Published on Wednesday, 16 December 2020
The energy transition is prompting a proliferation of alliance building, partnerships designed to foster electrification that cut across industries and geographies. Our company is promoting access to clean and sustainable electricity for all, through innovation and digitalization, as outlined in the 2020 report by the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership. The report describes the initiatives of some of its members (including Enel) in this respect.
In E-mobility Enel X is committing significant resources to encourage take-up of electric vehicles. Here, we have partnered with Ionity, an e-mobility joint-venture between major European carmakers – BMW, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen, and Korean newcomer Hyundai – to set up a new ultra-fast charging network in Italy that most EVs on the market both today and in the future will be able to use.
Ionity aims to counter range anxiety among potential purchasers of EVs by building 400 ultra-fast charging stations along major European highways, 20 of them in Italy, able to recharge an e-car battery fully in 30 minutes or less. Enel X will find sites, provide the capital to install the charging stations and deal with maintenance.
Italy’s ultra-fast stations, which will each host up to six charging points, will be part of Enel’s wider national EV infrastructure network, which calls for as many as 14,000 charging points of varying capacity to be in place by 2022. Our EV customers can also use the Ionity network across the European Union. This currently offers 310 charging stations, with another 49 under construction.
While sales of e-cars are burgeoning – in 2019 they rose about 40% globally, according to the International Energy Agency – they are still being held back by concerns including upfront cost. However, the falling price of batteries means e-cars are on course to reach cost parity with conventionally powered vehicles, and the expansion of public charging networks such as Ionity’s will also boost adoption.
In the U.S., Enel X is bringing its expertise in managing demand response programs to a partnership in Missouri. Under an exclusive agreement with Ameren, the state’s largest utility, it will deliver 100 MW of demand response resources from the utility’s commercial and industrial customers. The program, which is fully managed by Enel X, will help reduce peak demand on Ameren’s distribution network.
Enel X manages about 6.3 GW of demand response capacity, making it a world leader in the business, and it is planning to raise that figure to 10.1 GW by 2022. Demand response works by paying energy consumers to reduce their consumption when demand is high. Some programs also allow owners of solar panels, wind turbines, or even battery storage, to sell their excess output to the grid when required.
Enel X’s role in Missouri is to optimize customers’ participation and maximize their financial return. Businesses can also track and adjust their power usage to avoid peak demand charges and reduce overall energy expenses. The approach benefits Ameren, as well as providing consumers with new revenue streams, creating value for the whole system.
The market for battery storage is still embryonic, given the high cost of the technology, but this is changing rapidly as prices of battery packs fall – down 87% since 2010, thanks to manufacturing scale and innovation, as demand soared 100-fold between 2010 and 2018, according to BloombergNEF. That means it has a growing role to play in demand response programs.
Enel X is committed to ensuring the transition to a sustainable, inclusive and smart society happens as quickly as possible. With this in mind, in Italy we have launched an experimental partnership with a company owned by the operator of the national grid. This will enable battery-based residential energy storage systems in three northern provinces to offer so-called balancing services to the grid. Previously, only large production plants or industrial loads were permitted to do this.
The project, which will be managed by Enel X as an aggregator, will allow households to take part in active demand management programs. Our job is to install a remote-control system that will allow us to call on the storage unit and provide power to the grid when required.
We have also entered a partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest bank, to support innovative projects in the supply chain of smaller companies. The bank has agreed a 1.5-million-euro loan to Aton Storage, a small company that develops innovative methods for storing solar power with which we have gone into partnership. The aim of the partnership is to offer energy storage integrated with solar panels to the public at competitive prices.
Enel X has a broad range of innovative, sustainable solutions, and working in partnership with other organizations is the best way to exploit the opportunities offered by electrification.
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The energy market is being remoulded by the need for efficiency and sustainability. Enel X, the world leader in demand response programmes, is helping attain those goals by placing customers at the heart of the energy ecosystem