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Image credit: Enel

Image credit: Enel

Enel Group has sought to downplay the potential effects of the COVID-19 crisis on its growth plans for 2020, a year when it could add almost a third of its 14GW-plus green energy target by 2022.

In financial results out Thursday, the Italian energy giant said the virus now contracted by 250,000-plus people worldwide currently poses “no material disruption” to its renewable project supply chain. Deployment, the firm said, remains so far “in line with target”.

At more than 35,300 people, over half of Enel’s global workforce is now working remotely, with COVID-19 concerns forcing operational changes after a year when the firm increased revenue by 6.3% to €80.3 billion (US$86.2 billion) and EBITDA by 8.3% to €17.7 billion (US$19 billion).

At an earnings call, group-wide CEO Francesco Starace said Enel did not expect any issues in 2020 beyond what "normally would have been the case". The firm, the executive said, believes it can emerge out of this cycle with “very, very little damage".

“We have a very visible earning horizon,” Starace remarked. “More than 80% of our EBITDA is coming from regulated activities, all contracted activities – [they] are not really that affected with [sic] COVID-19.”

In its financial results, Enel claimed green energy generation was its “main growth driver” last year. Through its Enel Green Power subsidiary, the Italian group added over 3GW in new renewable capacity across 2019, contrasting with a 4.1GW coal shutdown that fuelled a 54.6% year-on-year drop of its net income.

Going forward, and as already announced last November, Enel intends to add a fresh 14.1GW of renewables by 2022. The lion’s share will be fleet decarbonisation in Italy, Spain and Chile (5.4GW) and PPA-backed green energy developments in Brazil and the US (5.1GW).

The plans for growth – starting with 4GW of “additional capacity” in 2020 alone – look set to bolster a cumulative renewables portfolio that, according to Enel, already sits at 45.9GW. At 3.6GW, solar ranks third in Enel’s managed capacity rankings, behind hydro (28.1GW) and wind (10.8GW).

PV assets are poised for a boost under Enel’s plans in Latin America, however, with major bifacial ventures in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Its São Gonçalo project in the former country, with 475MW already linked and a further 133MW to come, has been billed as Latin America’s largest.

PV Tech has set up a tracker to map out how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting solar supply chains worldwide. You can read the latest updates here.

The prospects and challenges of Latin American solar and storage will take centre stage at Solar Media's Energy Storage Latin America, to be held in Colombia on 23-24 June 2020.

Tags: covid-19, coronavirus, esslatam, storagelatam, latin america, enel, enel green power