2021-09-07 - Source: Diario el Mercurio
Following the merger of Enel Américas and Enel Green Power, the new company now has a consolidated renewable installed capacity of 3,972 MW in Brazil, including the largest wind plant and the largest solar plant in South America.
Enel Américas is one of the Chilean companies with the highest market cap on the Santiago Stock Exchange. Currently, through its subsidiaries, Enel Américas generates, transmits and distributes energy in four South American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. This makes the company the largest private electricity company in Latin America, delivering energy to nearly 26 million customers throughout the continent.
The merger with Enel Green Power throughout the whole region except Chile was approved at a Shareholders' Meeting in 2020. This added the renewable arm to its operations and expanding its reach to Central America with assets in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. In Panama, it is the leading renewable energy operator in terms of installed capacity.
The Fortuna hydroelectric plant (300 MW) is the largest in Panama and its production is vital for the Panamanian electricity system.
Enel Américas is also currently a shareholder of the Central American Electrical Interconnection System (SIEPAC), which is the first regional transmission system with coverage from Panama to Guatemala.
The largest plants in South America
In Brazil's northeastern state of Piauí, specifically in the municipalities of Lagoa do Barro do Piauí, Queimada Nova and Dom Inocêncio, is the largest wind farm in South America: Lagoa dos Ventos, with a capacity of 716 MW.
"With this megaproject our company is reasserting its commitment to sustainable development in Brazil, to promoting clean energy and contributing to decarbonization throughout the region," said Maurizio Bezzeccheri, general manager of Enel Americas and Enel's director for Latin America.
"Today, Lagoa dos Ventos can generate more than 3.3 TWh per year and it will continue to grow. Once the Lagoa dos Ventos III expansion project is included and fully operational, we will be able to generate around 5.0 TWh per year, enabling us to avoid emitting more than 2.8 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year," he added.
With its 230 wind turbines, Lagoa dos Ventos is already Enel's largest wind farm worldwide and one of the largest energy plants in Brazil. "Enel invested around 3 billion Brazilian reais, or about 620 million euros, in this ambitious renewable energy development project. In addition, Enel is investing some 360 million euros in building the next stage (Lagoa dos Ventos III)," said Enel Americas' CFO Aurelio Bustilho.
Also in Piauí state is the São Gonçalo solar park, which comprises more than 2.2 million panels and is currently being expanded to make it the largest solar park in South America.
Construction of São Gonçalo's first section (475 MW) began in October 2018 and was connected to the grid in January 2020. In August 2019, Enel announced the start of work on a 133 MW expansion, which is now completed and operational. A second expansion project, which will add 256 MW, is now underway bringing the total capacity to 864 MW.
The facility covers an area of around 12,000,000 m², equivalent to about 1,500 soccer fields.
Digital solutions: research and development projects in Brazil
Enel Américas already has more than 18.3 million customers and a 19.75% market share of energy distribution in Brazil.
In São Paulo's upscale Vila Olímpia neighborhood, Enel São Paulo is implementing Urban Futurability, the most comprehensive digital transformation project to be carried out by an electric power company in South America.
"Urban Futurability is a large real-world laboratory designed for testing technologies that will shape the future of the electric power distribution industry. Vila Olímpia's electricity infrastructure will become transformed into a digital, smart and sustainable platform that will enable the addition of new applications and efficient energy use," said Maurizio Bezzeccheri.
The executive added that "We are creating an open and shared urban ecosystem where energy becomes a service and, thanks to the highly developed digital platforms, the data coming from the electrical infrastructure will be available in real time."
With an investment of close to 125 million reais, it is Enel's largest R&D project worldwide and benefit 100,000 customers, thus opening the door to smart, sustainable and circular cities.