Enel, a multinational power company with operations in 30 countries and more than 90 GW of power generation capacity in its portfolio, is leveraging its global expertise as the world’s largest privately owned operator of digitally managed power distribution grids, by expanding its Gridspertise business to the U.S. market.
First launched in Europe and Latin America to provide solutions focused on metering and grid edge digitalization, networks infrastructure digitalization, and field operations digitalization, Gridspertise is expected to accelerate the digital transformation of power grids in the U.S., thereby helping to transition the country’s power system to a fully decarbonized and electrified power sector.
“We have been present in the U.S. now over 20 years,” Enrico Viale, Enel’s head of North America, told POWER during an exclusive interview. “We started with renewable energy with Enel Green Power. Then, roughly five years ago, we enter into another set of business, which was not only building, developing renewable energy projects, but also entering a much more large and exciting field, which is the one of electrification. So, we grew by essentially acquisition—we acquired a few companies—and we enter in the business of distributed energy resources first, then other services, such as demand response, with the acquisition of EnerNOC, and then, electric mobility. We launched five years ago a new division, which we call Enel X, which is engaging everything, which is energy efficiency and electrification. And now, we are opening another field for us in the U.S., which matches by the way our worldwide capabilities,” Viale said, referring to the Gridspertise business.
Gridspertise’s expansion into the U.S. market was announced on May 16 at Enel’s “Net Zero Grid Day” event in Rome, Italy. The business will help distribution system operators (DSOs) and utilities respond to the increasing demands and complexities being placed on the U.S.’s power grids. The digitalization of legacy networks to increase resiliency and reliability of supply, or the deployment of field operations digital solutions are among the solutions that Gridspertise is already offering to European and Latin American utilities and that the company is now bringing to the U.S. Enel plans to showcase its ecosystem of Gridspertise solutions in Dallas, Texas, next week at DistribuTECH International 2022, focusing on three areas of applicability: Prediction & Prevention, Grid Automation & Resilience, and Fast Response & Restoration.
“A few words regarding the market in the U.S. We think it’s an incredibly interesting and challenging market,” Viale said. “To be successful wherever we want in the world, we have to be also successful in such a big market as the U.S. There is a lot of space for further penetration of the renewable and decarbonization of the grid. It’s clear also that the power sector is realizing the challenges of the energy transition and of the electrification. So, there are a lot of utilities which are getting ready for this.
“We also had the infrastructure bill, which is helping the sector. So, realizing what is the vision of the future, which is absolutely good, we believe also that that will be still something coming up, complementing what already the infrastructure bill is doing. So, we found an enormous market here, which is very well financially equipped, technologically equipped, to do this job,” said Viale. “And, if you want, it matches a little bit what we have been assisting in Europe, because the European Green Deal. Also, similar realization, the targets have been done there. So, we think it’s a perfect complement, timing, and match for us, not only for this venture, but also for what we are already doing.”
Gridspertise plans to partner with DSOs and utilities throughout the U.S. to support grid modernization and digitalization plans through metering and grid edge, network infrastructure, and field operations digital solutions.
- Metering and grid edge digitalization, focused on increasing customer engagement and stakeholder participation through smart metering and grid edge technologies that also enable the electricity prosumers’ involvement in the markets.
- Network infrastructure digitalization, aimed at boosting intelligence and flexibility of power grids to enable the decentralized and fully digitalized management of energy systems through solutions such as the QEd—Quantum Edge device, increasing efficiency, reliability and quality of service, and supporting DSOs as they transition to meet the complex needs of a fully electrified future.
- Field operations digitalization, aimed at increasing operational efficiency through innovative solutions for planning and operation processes, while enhancing safety for both in-house and contractors’ field workers.
“With today’s launch of Gridspertise in the U.S., we are introducing a new tech company working with an open collaboration approach with utilities and technological partners to support grid modernization plans as a crucial step in combatting the climate crisis and building a net-zero, fully electrified future,” Robert Denda, CEO of Gridspertise, said in a statement.
Gridspertise said it aims to involve U.S. utilities in collaborative testing programs of its QEd device for digital substations in a push to deploy solutions that can enhance legacy infrastructure with smart grid functionalities, allowing, for example, a faster integration of electric mobility and decentralized renewables without costly rebuilds, and, at the same time, increasing grid resilience. The company claims its solutions and services provide benefits for the entire electric ecosystem.
“For DSOs, they can increase service quality, reduce operating costs, optimize investments in new infrastructure and enhance safety, productivity and sustainability of field operations. Grid users can benefit from a platform to integrate distributed energy resources and facilitate the development of the energy service market, including flexibility and electrification of end uses. For end customers, Gridspertise solutions and services increase the reliability of the electricity supply, facilitate electrification, foster energy efficiency, and make it easier for end customers to become prosumers by taking part in energy markets,” Gridspertise said.
—Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).