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European Utility Giant Turns More Selective On Renewables Spending

Italian utility giant Enel, one of Europe’s largest, is becoming more cautious in its investments in renewables and will be more selective in spending on clean energy amid high interest rates and rising costs.

Enel unveiled on Wednesday a new strategic plan for 2024 through 2026, which new chief executive Flavio Cattaneo said would focus on profitability, flexibility, and resilience.

In 2020, the previous CEO of the Italian utility giant said the group plans to invest as much as US$174 billion (160 billion euros) by 2030 in boosting renewable power generation, decarbonization, and grid infrastructure as part of a new plan to become a “Super Major” in renewables.

In the new plan, Enel plans to focus its investments in Europe mainly in grids, according to the new plan announced today. Nearly half of the gross capex, or 49%, will go to investments in Italy, 25% of capex is planned for Spain and Portugal, 19% for Latin America, and 7% for North America.

The investment in North America will go to “leveraging on the partnership model as well as on cash generation guaranteed by the improvement of profitability of the existing portfolio, in order to fund the development of renewables,” Enel said.

The group confirmed six core countries where it would focus its investments – Italy, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and the United States.

While the core areas remain the same, Enel will be more cautious and selective on investment opportunities in renewables. Investment decisions in the renewables sector will be more selective, diversifying technologies and countries, improving returns and reducing risks, also leveraging on partnerships.

“In the next three years, we will adopt a more selective approach towards investments in order to maximize profitability while minimizing risks,” CEO Cattaneo said.

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“Financial discipline will be the cornerstone of our Strategy, boosting cash generation and efficiencies, with sustainability continuing to guide our business decisions.”

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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