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Member Q&A: Werther Esposito, Country Manager, Enel Green Power Australia

November 10, 2021

As we near the end of COP26, we sat down with Werther of EGP Australia; an organisation committed to providing access to affordable, reliable and clean energy by reducing fuel poverty, safeguarding the environment, and protecting local communities. We ask him what he took out of the headline-leading event…

How would you describe Enel Green Power?

Enel is a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global power and renewables markets. It is the largest European utility by ordinary EBITDA, and is present in over 30 countries, producing energy with around 89 GW of installed capacity.

Enel’s vision is to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, as captured in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is also reflected in Enel’s purpose: “Open Power for a brighter future. We empower sustainable progress”. More specifically, Enel has directed its activities towards mitigating climate change (SDG 13) through decarbonising the production and consumption of energy, while simultaneously extending access to affordable and clean energy (SDG 7).

Enel’s renewables arm Enel Green Power is the world’s largest renewable private player, with around 50 GW of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower plants installed in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

In Australia, Enel Green Power operates the 275 MW Bungala Solar Farm in South Australia and the 34 MW Cohuna Solar Farm in Victoria. EGP has a pipeline of further wind and solar projects under development across Australia. The vision and mission of the Enel Group is outlined here.

Tell us about how you’re adopting shared value currently?

Enel’s strategy pursues shared value creation through its focus on decarbonising energy generation and electrifying energy consumption. Through this dual focus, Enel aims to create shared value by mitigating climate change and expanding energy access.

Enel uses the Creating Shared Value (CSV) model in all global business lines to put its purpose of empowering sustainable progress into action and advancing the global energy transition. As part of its strategic commitment to combat climate change, Enel is investing heavily into expanding its renewable energy generation capacity. When developing new renewable energy projects, Enel applies the CSV model to ensure that these projects generate shared value. Enel’s approach to CSV and methodology is best outlined in Enel Sustainability Report 2020 (page 126), here.

  • Innovability Platform (global case study)

We create shared value by innovating, which we can only do by being open to what the world around us has to offer. Innovation and sustainability are at the heart of our work, two fully integrated cores guiding all of our actions. Innovability is the vision we’ve chosen to achieve one large goal: a new era of zero-emissions energy to make the world a better place for everyone. See Open Innovability Platform here.

  • Agrivoltaic Research Project at Cohuna Solar Farm (local case study)

Enel Green Power recognised opportunities to minimise local social and environmental impacts and maximise value opportunities for local rural/regional stakeholders through the introduction of integrated land management activities at the Cohuna Solar Farm site.

Enel Green Power has partnered with Agriculture Victoria to undertake an Agrivoltaic Research Project at Cohuna Solar Farm. Agrivoltaics can be defined as co-use of land for energy and agricultural production. The first phase of the Agrivoltaic Research Project is currently underway. This phase is focused on data gathering on site to map the changes in microclimate and soil moisture profiles as a result of the installation of the solar panels. Data analysis and biophysical modelling will then be undertaken to determine the most suitable agricultural production systems to trial on site. See more here.

What are your key takeaways from COP26, in regards to the role that Enel Green Power and business can play to address climate change, in partnership with government? 

Enel considers Australia to have taken a meaningful step forward in committing to a net zero target at a federal level. With a renewed focus on climate policy and unlocking Australia’s vast renewable potential, we can make great inroads to achieving our goals.

As an organisation, we’re fully committed to contributing effectively to accelerating the energy transition and playing a leading role in the transition currently taking place in the energy sector with a business model focused on sustainability and curbing the impact of climate change. Furthermore, commitment to combating climate change at a federal level will strengthen the confidence of global renewable investors to deploy capital into the Australian energy market.

Why do you believe shared value is important today?

As a world leader in clean energy, at the forefront of integrating innovative technologies into renewable energy plants, our aim is to maximise the opportunities to created shared value within each community where we operate.

Collaborating with communities and local stakeholders to improve the local social and economic context is central to our business model, which priorities sustainable actions and practices.

What are some of the most pertinent issues in Australia that could be solved through creating shared value?

The key challenge and opportunity for Enel Green Power in Australia is working to respond to climate change challenges and leading Australia’s energy transition. In Australia, our business model and sustainability approach is focused on collaborating with communities and local stakeholders to improve the local social and economic context, which priorities sustainable actions and practices. We recognise that utilising a shared value approach can accelerate tackling some of the biggest and most important challenges facing Australia today.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the shared value community?

Enel Green Power recognises Shared Value Project as the peak body for advancing the adoption of shared value in Australia and New Zealand. Enel Green Power is enthusiastic to work collaboratively with this organisation to advocate for the shared value movement, whilst educating the business sector on how to put this important business strategy into practice. In this way, we aim to empower businesses to achieve shared and durable prosperity by addressing the social issues that intersect with their business challenges.

For more on Enel’s global activity around COP26, see here: