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Francesco Starace: 60 Years with Enel, at Italy’s Side

Francesco Starace talks about the role of Enel in the history of Italy and the 3Sun photovoltaic panel factory in Catania


We have been supplying Italy with energy for 60 years. In an interview published on November 30 in the weekly magazine “Panorama,” Francesco Starace stressed the role of Enel in the recent history of the country: “Enel was founded in 1962 as a public entity with the mission of completing the electrification of Italy. It is today a multinational company with a presence in 30 countries, and a leader in the global energy and renewable energy markets.” Supplying energy is “our mission, that’s why we were founded and our mission hasn’t changed over time.” It has always been far more than just turning on a light bulb,” the CEO explained: “In the 1960s, it meant bringing progress, fostering development and social change. Just think of how the introduction of household appliances has changed people’s daily lives, or how energy availability has made local industrial and economic growth possible. This is still our job today.

Starace explained that this change concerns “the tools and technologies that allow us to do this in a sustainable way and enable new development and new opportunities.” It’s a commitment that “creates value and benefits for Italy as well.” With this in mind, the CEO recalled that Enel has decided to focus more and more on renewable sources in recent years: “Our production of zero-emission electricity now accounts for 60% of Enel’s total generation. We support consumers who want to become producers with a grid that is increasingly evolved and ready to welcome their energy free of greenhouse gas emissions. We offer the electrification of homes and cities as a sustainable solution.” Awareness regarding the need for sustainable growth for the planet has increased exponentially, also at an international level. However, today it is impossible to ignore what is happening in the geopolitical arena: “nergy transition is already a reality. This crisis must provide a stimulus for accelerating it, as it has made it clear to everyone that Italy’s and Europe’s dependence on imported fossil fuels also represents a risk for the energy security of EU member countries. Sustainability is the only solution we have for getting through this crisis, and doing so in a structured way, ensuring Italy’s energy independence in the long term. Renewables are the real alternative to fossil fuels, and our objectives do not change: we want to close our coal-fired plants by 2025 and continue to grow zero-emissions energy sources.

“We have been supplying Italy with energy for 60 years. That is why we were founded and our mission over time hasn’t changed. The energy transition is already a reality, and this crisis must provide a stimulus for accelerating it”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO

Enel has also committed to the new 2023-2025 Strategic Plan presented on November 22, which allocated around five billion euros to the growth of renewables in Italy. As the words of Francesco Starace emphasized, the benefits are numerous: “The growth of renewables is an extraordinary opportunity for Europe to create an internal production chain, reduce its dependence on foreign countries and stimulate employment.” Italy is ready to set a good example: “Our 3Sun photovoltaic panel factory in Catania is in the process of becoming a Gigafactory. Its production capacity will increase 15-fold to 3 GW of panels each year, using the latest generation technologies that ensure the maximum efficiency available today.” It will become the largest production facility in Europe, “playing a major role in the local technology hub, as well as an important role in terms of employment for the local economy, in the form of direct jobs and related activities. It has been estimated that the Gigafactory will increase employment in the area by creating around 900 direct jobs (including the existing ones) and around 1,000 indirect jobs by 2024.

The total investment in the factory amounts to around 600 million euros, of which 188 million will come from Europe through the PNRR and the Innovation Fund. Starace observed that the industrial sector needs to be helped precisely with tools like these: “The PNRR represents a historic opportunity to design and build the backbone of tomorrow’s Italy. However, in order to ensure that it is a driving force for development and, therefore, an opportunity for future generations, resources must be allocated to projects that are able to transform our industrial structure.

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Enel editorial staff