Italian energy giant Enel – the biggest utility in Europe in terms of market value and customers – is seeking a retail energy licence in Australia to support its plans to grow its solar and wind portfolio by another 1,000MW and provide power to industrial and commercial customers.
The move by Enel follows a host of other major international players entering the market – including Shell and UK-based Ovo – and highlights the growing competition faced by Australia’s energy incumbents.
The Enel Group manages around 86GW of capacity in 32 countries, with 47GW of this in renewables – wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydro – which is managed by its Enel Green Power subsidiary.
In Australia, Enel owns the 220MW Bungala solar farm in South Australia and the small 34MW Cohuna solar farm in Victoria, which is still going through the registration and commissioning process despite completing construction more than a year ago.
Enel says it wants to grow its Australian portfolio by another 1,000MW of generation capacity in the next five years, although it did not reveal which projects it has in mind. It also owns Enel X, which focuses on software and demand management and energy efficiency solutions.
Enel says it intends to offer its products across all states in the country’s main grid, known as the National Electricity Market, but its initial focus appears to be Victoria.
It says it will focus on “innovative renewable energy products (including PPAs, caps and swaps)” to large, grid-connected commercial and industrial customers throughout Victoria.
It says its products will also focus on flexible services and technologies linked to renewable energy and the creation of demand response solutions.
The operation will be headed by Werther Esposito, currently the head of Enel Green Power in Australia.
“With the intention of growing the business slowly and targeting only a few customers in the first 3 years, (Enel) will operate a lean organisational structure,” it says, initially the equivalent of 3 full time positions by the end of 2021.