Enel describes itself as "Italy's largest power company and Europe’s second listed utility by installed capacity. It produces and sells electricity and gas across Europe, North and Latin America." Following its takeover of the Spanish utility Endesa and Acciona, Enel states on its website that, as of December 2007, it has "a presence in 21 countries with 75,500 MW of generating capacity".
Of its total installed generating capacity, the company generated 67,334 million kilowatt hours from thermal sources. Of this, 30,171 million kilowatt hours or 41.9% was from coal-fired power stations, a 4% increase over the previous year.
Enel was formerly the Italian government owned electricity generation, distribution and transmission utility. In 1999 the Italian government began to deregulate the electricity market and privatize the utility.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that "in 2000, the Italian government forced Enel to sell 27 percent of its generating capacity, and to that end, Enel created three new, independent generating companies: Elettrogen, Eurogen, and Interpower." Elettrogen was subsequently bought by Endesa Italia, Eurogen bought by Edison and and a consortium of Belgium's Electrabel, Italy's Acea, and Interpower was bought by a consortium of Electrabel, Acea, and Energia Italia bought Interpower and later renamed it Tirreno Power.
Proposed coal plants
- The Braila Power Station Expansion is a proposal by the state-owned Romanian company Termoelectrica and a consortium comprising E.ON Kraftwerke and Enel for "for the development of the Braila power plant project, for a new 800 MW coal-fired production capacity." The three companies announced in June 2008 that they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding relating to the project. The consortium states that "the project will also utilize the existing assets from the power plant currently in operation ... Based on the results of the feasibility study, expected by the end of 2008, the parties will decide whether or not to implement the power plant project." The media release also states that "the plant will be prepared for CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage)-technology."
- The Galati Power Station is a proposed 900 MW coal-fired station by Enel in the Free Economic Area of Galati, Romania. The investment is expected to reach almost EUR 1.3 billion. The prefecture of Galati city approved the local urban plan (PUZ) regarding the building of the station in September 2011. Building works for the plant are expected to commence at the end of 2012 and finalized three to four years later.
On March 1, 2011, Enel said its new pilot carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant, the Brindisi facility, will be used as a blueprint for a larger €1 billion ($1.38 billion) facility to be built in Porto Tolle. Enel's Brindisi facility will be used over the next three years to test additives and solvents, including plans for a larger facility in Porto Tolle, Italy. The Brindisi project aims to "capture" 8,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year, while the Porto Tolle facility targets 1 million tons a year. Porto Tolle, in northeast Italy, is set to be converted to a coal-fired plant from fuel oil, with an installed capacity of about 2,000 megawatts, at €2 billion. The CCS demonstration facility will have an additional EUR$1 billion investment.
Enel also signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2010 with the Korean ElectricPower Corp., or Kepco, to test CCS. Enel is also tapping the Chinese CCS market through a 2009 deal looking at a 600 megawatt power plant with China's Huaneng. Enel and China's fourth-largest oil producer, Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group are also studying injecting CO2 into an oil field as a way of boosting output.
Enel and Eni SpA, Italy's biggest oil and natural gas company, will jointly transport and store CO2 in Eni's onshore Cortemaggiore gas field. Injection at Cortemaggiore is expected to take place by the end of 2011.
Enel emissions and Greenpeace lawsuit
An independent data analysis by the group SOMO and commissioned by Greenpeace Italy found that air pollution from Enel’s coal plants amounted to more than 1,000 deaths a year in Europe. The methodology was derived from that used by the European Union Environment agency. The analysis estimated that the damage to Italy from Enel's coal plants amounts to 2 billion euros a year, and the annual costs for all of Europe 4.3 billion euros. Additionally, Enel had carbon dioxide emissions of 36.8 million tonnes in 2011, making it the largest CO2 emitter in Italy. In response, Enel sought a court ruling ordering the Greenpeace Italy website detailing Enel’s emissions to be taken offline. The lawsuit was dismissed in July 2012.
Articles and Resources
- Enel, "Enel SpA", Enel website, accessed July 2008.
- Enel, "Annual Report 2007", Enel, page 86.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Italy: Electricity", U.S. Energy Information Administration website, accessed July 2008.
- Enel, "Termoelelctrica, E.ON and Enel Sign Agreement for Coal Fired Power Plant in Romania", Media Release, June 18, 2008.
- "Enel to build a EUR 1.2 bln thermal power plant in Galati," Business Review, Sep. 27, 2011.
- Liam Moloney, "Enel to Invest in Carbon-Capture Facility" Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2011.
- Brian Blomme, "Greenpeace Italy wins right to criticse Enel’s deadly coal emissions," Greenpeace, July 17, 2012.
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