The greatest atmospheric pollutants associated with thermal power generation are sulfur oxides (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust. Emissions are measured at the chimney in most large plants, using continuous monitoring systems, as required by the national legislation of each Country.

As was the case for CO2, the values for SO2 (-3%) and NOx (+1%) in 2017 were essentially stable compared to the previous year. Dust emissions showed an increase (about +14%) due to a shift in the Russian production mix towards coal. Specific emissions all increased in 2017. The increase is not linked to increased pollutant production, but to a decrease in the Group’s energy production due to the changes in the scope of operations that took place mainly in 2016 (see the paragraph “Development of renewable capacity and reduction of thermal capacity” in the chapter “Business model for a low-carbon growth”). In particular, the specific emissions of SO2, NOx and dust show an increase of 2%, 5% and 23% respectively.

Also taking into account the managed capacity4, equal to about 2.6 GW, and the managed production of about 7 TWh, the total values were respectively about 88 GW for capacity and about 257 TWheq for production. As a result, specific emissions were equal to 0.81 g/ kWheq for SO2, 0.77 g/kWheq for NOx and 0.26 g/kWheq for dust.

In the coming years, a gradual reduction of all pollutants is expected thanks to a series of interventions on the entire thermal generating fleet, to align the plants with the industry’s best practices through the installation or improvement of pollutant abatement systems and the progressive decommissioning of less efficient plants. In the three-year period 2018-2020, around 500 million euro is due to be invested in environmental initiatives in some selected plants.

These will include infrastructural work and management improvements, aimed at achieving best possible performance, even exceeding legal requirements.

Specific SO2, NOx and dust emissions (g/kWheq)


2020 targets

Compared to the data recorded in 2010, Enel has committed to achieving certain targets by 2020 for the reduction of specific atmospheric emissions, evaluated based on the results achieved and the timetable laid down by the Business Plan for the next three years. The Plan calls for an evolution of the mix towards renewable energies and a reduction in emissions from fossil fuels through the alignment of existing plants to best practices, together with a change in the perimeter of the production fleet.



4 Capacity managed through the joint ventures of the renewables area in Italy, USA and Canada.