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Environmental sustainability

Enel has implemented specific policies aimed at protecting the environment and natural resources, at combatting climate change, and at contributing to sustainable economic development. A key element of these policies are our internationally recognized Environment Management Systems (EMS).

Within the scope of our nuclear technology activities, Enel is publicly committed to ensuring that our plants adopt a clear nuclear safety policy and that those facilities are operated based on standards that ensure absolute priority is given to safety and the protection of employees, the general public, and the environment. The policy in respect of nuclear safety is to encourage excellence in all plant activities based on a strategy that seeks to go beyond mere compliance with applicable laws and regulations and to ensure the adoption of management approaches that embody the principles of continuous improvement and managing risk.

Responsible water resource management

Water is an essential part of electricity generation, and Enel therefore believes that the availability of this resource is a critical part of future energy scenarios. The Group has always managed the water we use efficiently through ongoing monitoring of all power plants located in areas threatened by water scarcity. Enel employs the following levels of analysis:

  • the mapping of generation sites in areas at risk of water scarcity, i.e. where the average availability of per capita water resources is below the benchmark level set by the FAO (the mapping is performed using the Global Water Tool of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development); 
  • the identification of “critical” generation sites, i.e. those in water scarcity areas drawing on fresh water;
  • more efficient management of water resources in order to maximize the use of waste water and sea water; 
  • the monitoring of meteorological and climate data for each site.

Globally, Enel returns about 99% of the water used for opencycle cooling to the original source. About 8% of the Enel Group’s total electricity output uses and/or consumes fresh water in water-stressed areas12. In 2018 the total water requirement was 96.3 million cubic meters, some 14% less than in 2017, reflecting a decrease in thermal and nuclear generation compared with the previous year.

Of the total water requirement, the total drawn from treated waste water amounted to 4.7%, a decrease on the previous year. In line with Enel’s commitment to reduce our water requirement by 35% in 2030 compared with 2015, the specific requirement for 2018 was 0.38 l/kWheq, 14% less than in 2017.

Preserving biodiversity

Preserving biodiversity is one of the strategic objectives of Enel’s environmental policy. The Group promotes specific projects in the various areas in which we operate in order to help protect local species, their natural habitats, and the local ecosystems in general. These projects cover a vast range of areas, including: inventory and monitoring; programs to protect specific species; methodological research and other studies; repopulation and reforestation; and the construction of infrastructure supports to promote the presence and activities of various species (e.g. artificial nests along power distribution lines for birds or fish ladders at hydroelectric plants).

Enel’s collaboration with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global authority on the preservation of biodiversity, which began in 2017, continued in 2018 and we consolidated our efforts to assess the risks and opportunities connected with managing biodiversity.

12 The World Resources Institute (WRI) defines “water-stressed area” as an area in which annual per capita water availability is less than 1,700 m3 .