Enel, Europe’s largest utility firm and based in Rome, used to rely largely on coal. However, it is in the process of closing all of its coal power facilities around the world within the next six years and repurposing the old locations, notably as renewable energy hubs.
According to Fabio Cautadella, Enel Group’s head of the power plant repurposing, the major goal is to build genuine energy facilities that are increasingly connected with their local surroundings, decreasing the effect on the landscape to a new understanding of what a power plant might be. “The majority of coal-fired power plants are being transformed to renewable power, but some are getting a fresh lease on life with whole new functions. These initiatives are being created in conjunction with local communities, as well as external partners in some circumstances, to generate jobs and enhancing the area’s quality of life.”
A gigantic former coal plant in Teruel, Spain, will be turned into Europe’s largest solar power facility, with additional battery storage and wind power on the location that will more than substitute coal-fired power generation. Other locations will switch to green hydrogen, which Cautadella describes as “a highly prospective alternative that can function as an alternative to power in the so-called “hard to abate” sectors like heavy industrial, shipping, and aviation.” “In these circumstances, hydrogen may be collected using renewable-energy-based technologies, making it a truly green technology.”
In Italy, the business held a competition for the architects to remodel four former coal facilities that are now partially powered by renewable energy. A winning design transforms a portion of the facility into a public center for sustainable innovation in Venice. The site’s new structures, which are made of recycled products, are developed to use as minimal energy as possible, and fresh plantings will help integrate the industrial complex with the lagoon.
The projects aren’t moving as swiftly as is physically possible toward sustainability; some will utilize renewable energy in conjunction with gas, which still contributes to climate change. Enel doesn’t expect to completely decarbonize until 2050, although it might conceivably do so much sooner. Despite this, the firm was one of the first to adopt renewable energy, creating Enel Green Power in the year 2008, which is today a global leader with over 1,200 renewable power plants spread across five continents.
It also plans to spend $190 billion over the next decade to almost triple its renewable potential. It expands the infrastructure in preparation for a tomorrow with electric automobiles and other surges in electricity demand. Over the next two years, it will invest roughly as much in renewables as BP, Total, and Shell combined. One aspect of the larger shift is finding new usage for existing coal facilities.