On November 11, 2022, Enel added its latest Innovation Hub to our global network: Europe Innovation Hub, in the heart of Barcelona. This is the 10th hub in our network dedicated to fostering relationships between Enel and startups, SMEs, venture capital funds, universities and other key players in the European market. Internationally recognized for infrastructure that supports the production and distribution of hydraulic energy, Barcelona is the perfect place for this hub, which was designed to ensure a just and sustainable energy transition throughout the entire energy value chain.
Not only will this hub strengthen the Catalan startup and innovation ecosystem, but it will also have Europe-wide impacts. Barcelona’s international culture makes the city a nucleus for European innovation. As Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability® Officer, explains, “We do not think of Barcelona as Catalonia. We do not think of Barcelona as Spain. We think of Barcelona as the center of Europe, the center of our European strategy.”
Energizing innovation in the heart of Barcelona
The inauguration featured presentations by Angelo Rigillo, Head of Open Innovation, Hubs and Startups Enel; Fernando Sandoval, Manager Enel Innovation Hub Europe; José Bogas, Endesa CEO, and Isabel Buesa, General Manager of Endesa for Catalonia. Representing the Barcelona City Council were the City Promotion Commissioner, Pablo Ángel Solanilla, and the Commissioner of the 2030 Agenda, Bàrbara Pons.
This collaboration between Enel, Endesa and the Barcelona City Council forms part of the public-private platform Barcelona Innovation Coast (BIC), created to drive innovation and jobs in the city. José Bogas also elaborated on the importance of this Hub for Endesa and Enel’s energy strategy, stating that the Hub “reveals that our commitment to innovation in the energy sector continues stronger than ever.”
As an example of how Enel is enabling the energy transition, Cristina Colchero, CTO of Bamboo Energy, a startup dedicated to using artificial intelligence for e-distribution, shared her appreciation for the collaboration with Enel. Founded in 2020, Bamboo Energy is a spin-off of the Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya research center. The startup has been collaborating with e-Distribution and has managed to demonstrate how small flexibility providers can be key players in the challenges faced by local grids with high renewable impact.
Colchero was followed by Javier Maldonado, Technical Director of Dinnteco, a new lightning protection system for wind turbines. Maldonado shared his experiences working with Enel’s open innovation model and his team’s collaboration with Enel Green Power.
Innovability® in a global ecosystem
In his presentation, Ernesto Ciorra stated that, “To innovate we need the passion, dreams and knowledge of startups. We know the potentialities of Barcelona and we are sure we can work in an extraordinary way”.
This Open Innovability® model in which Enel collaborates with providers, technology and research centers, universities and local startups, among others, is crucial to the success of innovative solutions. To date, the Enel Group’s innovation program has analyzed solutions proposed by more than 13K startups and SMEs from around the world and has developed projects with more than 545 of these companies. Our worldwide challenges are linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ranging from the design of sustainable substations integrated into rural and urban environments to technological improvements for the generation of renewable energy.
Interested in learning more about opportunities for innovation? Check out our open challenges today!