European power utilities remain the most closely aligned with the requirements of net zero, according to Energy Transition Rankings for the power sector from GlobalData, Energy Monitor’s parent company. Italian power giant Enel is the new leader in 2023, supplanting the 2022 leader, Iberdrola.
GlobalData’s annual ranking assesses the world’s largest power generators by ten key energy transition metrics. These metrics include installed renewable capacity; the emissions intensity of the electricity they generate; investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging points and involvement in EVs more generally; low-carbon hydrogen production (both blue and green); and the rate at which they are decommissioning coal.
Enel does not have as much renewable power capacity as other utilities like Spain’s Iberdrola, which comes in second this year. However, it trumps its Spanish competitor when it comes to electricity storage capacity, as well as emissions produced per megawatt (MW).Keep up with Energy Monitor: Subscribe to our weekly newsletter
In 2022, Enel set a new renewables record, with its clean energy subsidiary Enel Green Power building 5,223MW of new renewable capacity worldwide, including 387MW of battery energy storage systems. The company is the world’s largest private player in the renewable energy space and the second-largest power company in the world by revenue.
“In 2022, Enel Green Power reaffirmed its position as a global leader in the renewable segment,” said Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power, in a press statement in January 2023. “Despite all the challenges we faced this last year, which was marked by geopolitical conflicts and a worsening macroeconomic environment, we are continuing to grow with the ambitious goal of reaching 75GW of renewable capacity and battery energy storage systems by 2025.”
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European companies dominate the top spots in GlobalData's Energy Transition Rankings for the power sector, occupying six of the top ten places. US utilities, meanwhile, occupy seven of places 11–20. In all, the world’s 38 largest power utilities are analysed for their alignment with net zero.
More generally, the 2023 Energy Transition Rankings once again reflect how – other than a few notable leaders – the vast majority of the global power generation industry remains far from meeting the requirements of net zero.
This outcome chimes with the most recent net-zero tracking report from the International Energy Agency, which was published at the start of July 2023. In the power sector, only solar is deemed to be “On track” with what is required for net zero by 2050. Natural gas, wind, hydropower, demand response, nuclear and smart grids are all given the amber label “More effort is needed”. Coal is given the red label “Not on track”.