Influential and interesting in 2018 -- Francesco Starace

CEO, Enel Group

(pic: Bloomberg)

Veteran wind developer with an eye for technological innovation

As CEO of Italian energy group Enel since 2014, and its renewable head in the six years before that, Starace has helped to make wind and other renewables become mainstream energy sources in many parts of the globe.

Under his leadership, Enel’s renewable portfolio has grown to reach 38.4GW, with wind, at 7.4GW, accounting for most non-hydro capacity, although solar PV and geothermal are part of the company’s diversified green-energy mix.

Enel’s geographical footprint has also expanded from Italy and Europe to cover much of North and South America, and, increasingly, Africa and Asia.

Now also president of European electricity association Eurelectric, Starace regularly highlights the opportunities offered by technological innovation and the move to a decarbonised energy system.

As Enel CEO, he has steered the company’s attentions solidly towards efforts to help increase the flexibility of the power system to smoothly integrate renewable energy.

This led Enel to make significant investments in digitalisation and smart grids, and to grow to become a leading player in offering demand-response services through its Enel X innovation unit.