The Italian based Enel Group, the world’s large private renewable energy player, has secured its energy retail licence in Australia and plans to offer a unique “green-tailer” product in the local market, combining renewables, virtual power plants and an EV charging option for its customers.
The push by Enel into the Australian energy retail space, following approval of its licence by the Australian Energy Retailer, is the latest of a string of attacks on local energy incumbents, including by Shell, which has snapped up ERM and PowerShop, and Telstra, which will draw on its 5 million telco customers.
Enel already operates the biggest solar farm in South Australia, the Bungala facility near Port Augusta (pictured above), and is putting the finishing touches to the Cohuna solar farm in Victoria, and has plans for at least another gigawatt of wind, solar and battery storage installations across the country.
It operates more than 51GW of renewables capacity around the world – a combination of wind, solar, hydro and geothermal in more than 30 countries.
“We have more than 70 million retail clients in very important markets like the US, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Chile,” Werther Esposito, the head of Enel Green Power in Australia, told RenewEconomy in an interview.
“So we really believe that we can in some way export our know-how to the Australia market and support the the green energy transition here.”
Enel will also draw on its Enel X subsidiary, which has already built up a 350MW “virtual power plant” across the country that combines the resources rooftop solar, on site battery storage systems and electric vehicle charging solutions.
“There are a lot of players in the market,” the head of Enel X in the Asia Pacific Jeff Renaud told RenewEconomy. “But we’re still confident that we have something unique to say and to offer to customers.”
That offering will enable customers to “decarbonise, digitalise and electrify their energy use”, enabling customers to earn significant amounts of revenue by supporting the grid’s fluctuating power needs.
“We can offer a unique way for them to access firmed renewable power, identify new ways to electrify their energy use to take advantage of the increasingly abundant renewable energy, and to help them reshape their load profile to take advantage of the dramatic changes in wholesale prices being driven by solar,” Renaud said.
Esposito said Enel has a goal of developing 1.5GW over the next three years – with wind and solar projects in NSW and Western Australia, and battery storage, including at Bungala. He said growth would come from both “greenfields” development and M&A.
“The idea is to support our pipeline of generation sites with different technologies, wind and solar, and of course batteries,” he said. One new project could be announced in coming weeks.
“Enel is a one stop shop ‘greentailer’ delivering energy from Australia’s abundant renewable resources for the country’s clean energy future,” he said in a separate statement.
“The Enel retail offering will provide exclusive access to Enel Green Power’s innovative renewable energy mix. As Enel’s customer base grows, so too will Enel Green Power’s diversified asset base which will directly service the growing demand.”