The main thermal generation innovation activities in 2017 pertained to the improvement of the flexibility and efficiency of generation plants and the minimization of environmental impacts and emissions. They also involved the application of advanced diagnostic and monitoring systems and IoT applications, as well as the development of accumulation systems and new business models. An example is the installation at the Torrevaldaliga Nord plant (Italy) of a drone system aimed at providing an environmental and security monitoring service, able to perform autonomous flight, assisted by video analysis algorithms and the definition of three-dimensional routes via software. An anti- drone system has also been installed, to protect the system against the physical risk of intrusion by hostile drones.
The digital revolution of the grids has focused on improving the efficiency and quality of service for customers in the various countries in which Enel operates. The microgrids in Paratebueno (Colombia) are an important example. They have allowed sustainable electricity to be brought to certain villages and will be used to test new technologies to be replicated in other areas.
In Spain, as part of the “La Graciosa”, project, Enel has worked to demonstrate the effectiveness of the use of storage systems in order to maximize the penetration of renewable energy while maintaining the highest quality of service in distribution networks.
Electric mobility is an essential innovation for the future, but technology and a widespread distribution network are not enough to accelerate this revolution; we must start from a cultural revolution. The development of electric mobility makes it possible to obtain various benefits, including a lower environmental impact, the decarbonization of transport, the improvement of air quality and noise pollution in cities, an increase in energy efficiency, the greater integration of renewable energy, and the dissemination of innovative solutions. Furthermore, investments in e-mobility will reduce total energy imports in Europe and create additional demand for domestically generated sustainable electricity by expanding the use of renewable energy in transport.
The Enel technology solution is based on an interconnected network composed of 3 functional areas: interconnected charging stations, smart charging services and aggregation services between home, vehicles and the network. In particular, urban areas will be covered by Quick charging stations (22 kW) that have a total average charging time of approximately 1.5 hours, while in suburban areas the Fast (50 kW) and Ultra Fast (150 kW) charging stations will be installed, with average charging times of about 40 and 20 minutes, respectively. As of 2017, over 1,100 public charging stations and almost 26,000 private (wallboxes) were installed. This path will also unfold through the EVA+ (Electric Vehicles Arteries in Italy and Austria) project, co-funded by the EU Commission. In particular, it provides for the installation of 180 multi-standard fast charging points in Italy and 20 in Austria that are compatible with all electric vehicles on the market. In addition to Enel, the project partners include Verbund, Renault, Nissan, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi.
Enel has therefore developed an infrastructure consisting of charging stations designed to meet the different customer needs of charging and all connected to the EMM platform (Electro Mobility Management System), which uses the cloud to remotely monitor and manage all the functions of charging stations, both private and public, creating a smart network.
The first electric mobility Hub and the new Enel X Juice Station
In line with the Open Power approach, an innovative Hub dedicated to the development of technologies for electric mobility has been set up. This Hub, located at the ACI Vallelunga racetrack in Rome, aims to connect and involve national and international research institutes and startups. The structure will allow the new infrastructures to be tested directly in the field, taking advantage of the specialist skills of ACI Vallelunga in the field of road safety and sport racing, to transfer the high performance developed through competitions on the racetrack to daily life.
In this context, on November 9, 2017 Enel presented the prototype of the new charging station, which will be installed starting in mid-2018. In addition to ensuring efficient and universal charging, the new generation of stations will offer the possibility of remote control and pay-as-you-go options, which will improve the customer experience thanks to a new color interface and will enable easier maintenance.
Fim Enel MotoE, the new era for motorcycles
Beginning in 2019, thanks to the collaboration agreement signed with Dorna Sports, the company that manages the commercial rights of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing, Enel will be Title Sponsor of the Fim Enel MotoE World Cup and Sustainable Power Partner of the MotoGP. This single-brand cup will start in 2019 and will initially be held in Europe. The spotlight will be on the electric supersport bike built by Energica, an Italian company among the world leaders in the development of the electric two-wheelers.
Motorsport competitions represent an opportunity to spread the culture of electric mobility and also serve as a laboratory to accelerate the evolution of technology and the continuous improvement of systems to the benefit of sustainable mobility. Enel’s partnership with Dorna will also include services to reduce the carbon footprint of the different stages of the cup by adopting smart energy management solutions and digital meters. This ensures that Dorna and the MotoE teams take advantage of the latest generation technologies in the management of complex electrical systems. Thanks to Enel X, which will be the Official Technology Partner of MotoE™, the Energica electric motorcycles will be powered by renewable energy generated on site through state-of-the-art portable photovoltaic systems or by using renewable energy available on local distribution networks. Produced entirely from renewable sources, the energy will be used as zero-emission fuel for the motorcycles, which will be recharged using the Enel X Juice Roll, a rapid smart charging system. This technology allows recharging either in the pit stops, connected to the grid, or in any other part of the circuit, in battery mode, through a mobile charger with integrated storage capacity. The mobile chargers can be easily transported from the pit stop to the paddock or even on the starting grid, and will be connected to Enel’s smart e-mobility platform to optimize the charging process.
Enel has also developed an adaptive lighting system (Lighting 4.0) to make urban public lighting systems more efficient and safer. The project allows for light to be automatically adjusted according to the intensity of traffic, thanks to an advanced camera system, in order to maximize energy efficiency and reduce waste. Energy savings can reach up to 49% compared to a non-optimized plant, a significant share if we consider that public lighting is the third largest expense in municipal budgets. The solution proposed by Enel has gathered the interest of the Municipality of Bologna, which intends to develop a pilot project by integrating a sensor developed by a startup into the Archilede Active Control remote control system already installed in the city. The solution will remain active for a few months in order to realistically monitor the obtainable benefits in terms of energy savings.
In addition to the Bologna test, other pilot projects on adaptive lighting are planned, such as in the Municipality of Pomezia, where evolved and resilient remote control solutions based on radiofrequencies will be tested.
The Lighting 4.0 project also provides for the mapping and testing of various other value-added services, based on video analysis, sensors and artificial intelligence solutions, which can be run from public lighting infrastructures, aimed at increasing city safety, optimizing vehicle traffic and mobility, and to support administrations in planning services by assessing citizens’ real requirements.
Another solution, developed in synergy with electric mobility, is the Enel X Juice Light Pole. This project is aimed at developing an innovative product consisting of the integration of two distinct technologies: public lighting poles and charging stations for Enel X electric vehicles. The Enel X Juice Light Pole will be able to provide several services to different types of users through a single infrastructure. Following the release of the first products, Enel will produce several prototypes (Proof of Concept - PoC) in order to measure customer interest and satisfaction in such a way as to make the product evolve along a path of continuous improvement.
The Group also focuses on access to energy, the integration of renewables into the electricity system, and the use of new technologies in order to contribute to improving local communities’ access to energy by providing power to isolated areas thanks to the combined use of diversified generation technologies and storage systems. Key elements include the search for solutions that improve the efficiency and flexibility of renewable resources also in urban contexts and the development of new untapped renewable resources, such as marine energy.
Work continued on the European RESCCUE (RESilience to cope with Climate Change in Urban arEas) project, an initiative that Enel participates in through the Spanish subsidiary Endesa, created to develop innovative models and tools to improve the ability of cities to cope with the problems arising from current and future climate scenarios.
Resilient and sustainable cities
Enel is a member of the United Nations’ Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) with the role of Vice President, and since 2017 it has been a member of the Global Steering Committee of Making Cities Resilient Campaign.
The cities that have signed the campaign in 2017 in the countries where Enel is present include 22 in Europe and 167 in South America1. In Italy, through the Enel Foundation, Enel presented the “Scorecard on Resilience to Disasters for Cities”, a tool that allows local administrations to monitor the adoption of the Sendai Framework2 for risk reduction and assess disaster resilience. The Scorecard is available at the following link: https://www.unisdr.org/campaign/resilientcities/home/toolkitblkitem/?id=4.
(1) UNISDR Making Cities Resilient Campaign.
(2) The Sendai Declaration and the Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 were approved during the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Sendai, Japan. The text is available at the following link: https://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/sendai-framework.