Enel plans 5.7GW wind capacity boost by 2022

Italian utility Enel has announced plans to invest €11.5 billion over the next three years to grow its renewable capacity by 14.1GW, including 5.7GW of wind.

Enel's North American division's 400MW Cimarron Bend wind farm in Kansas

In a Capital Markets Day presentation outlining its 2020-2022 industrial plan, Enel said renewables capacity rose to an estimated 50% of its total energy assets in 2019, and will shoot past conventional generation to hit 60% by 2022.

Capacity and production from coal plants is expected to fall by 61% and 74% respectively, compared to 2018.

Enel's wind capacity is set to rise from 10.7GW in 2019 to 16.4GW in 2022, with solar climbing from 2.8GW to 8.8GW in the same period.

Production from wind farms is forecast to increase from 29.6TWh to 52.2TWh.

Enel envisages its wind capacity in North America growing from 4.7GW to 6.6GW by the end of 2022, and in Latin America rising from 1.6GW to 3.7GW.

Wind capacity in Iberia is slated to rise from 2.3GW to 3.2GW, while in its home market of Italy, Enel plans to add 0.5GW to wind to reach a total of 1.3GW in 2022.

Elsewhere in Europe, Enel anticipates only 0.3GW of new wind build over the next three years, plus another 0.5GW in Africa, Oceania and Asia.

Onshore only

Enel's plans for wind capacity growth are entirely focused on onshore development. CEO Francesco Starace said offshore wind is "twice as expensive" as onshore, and also riskier, given the lack of a long-term track record for operations and maintenance.

Offshore projects would also require Enel to tie-up funds in projects for longer than the maximum three-year time horizon if favours.

"We get new offers to invest in offshore wind every week, but we don't think there's a rationale," said Starace.