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Increasing biodiversity at renewable energy plants: Enel Green Power awards challenge winners

Increasing biodiversity at renewable energy plants: Enel Green Power awards challenge winners

Enel Green Power launched an Open Innovability® challenge to improve biodiversity at renewable energy plants, support natural ecosystems and contribute to SDGs 13 and 15. Three winners have been chosen for their innovative and sustainable solutions.


According to the landmark report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), human activities have put over one million animal and plant species at risk of extinction. This has a tangible impact on our economy, society and, of course, our planet.

Biodiversity loss and climate change are closely linked: in a destructive cycle, climate change drives biodiversity loss, which in turn further worsens the climate crisis. That means that we cannot solve one problem without the other. We need solutions that repair ecosystem degradation while promoting decarbonization and a sustainable future.


For every great challenge…

To protect biodiversity, the Enel Group involves local stakeholders and other partners with different backgrounds (e.g., universities, research centers, startups, NGOs, etc.) through our Open Innovability® approach. With this in mind, Enel Green Power (EGP), Enel’s business line for production and management of renewable energy worldwide, launched a challenge to find solutions to improve biodiversity at renewable energy plants.

This challenge was designed with three principle aims: first, to support existing habitats and ecosystems through renewable energies that guarantee ecological continuity with the surrounding landscape. Second, to avoid biodiversity loss and third, to contribute to SDGs 13 and 15 on climate action and terrestrial ecosystems. 


…there are great solutions

Three winners were awarded prizes for their solutions, with first place receiving €7,000 and second and third places receiving €4,000 each. For one of the winners, Enel Green Power has adapted and tailored the solution to a specific site.

The solution is undergoing testing at the Pezouliotika PV plant in Greece, along with agrivoltaic tests. As Maria Genovese of the Environment and Impacts Mitigation Innovation Chapter of Enel Green Power explains: “We chose this location in order to focus on the preservation of some target species, aiding local butterflies that were at risk of extinction.”

Insect biodiversity is especially important for proper ecosystem functioning. Although they are the most species-rich group on Earth, half a million different types of insects are reported to be at risk of extinction. For this reason, the winning solution of this challenge took into account the biodiversity of these crucial fauna.

Maria Genovese continues: “We realized that in our Pezouliotika photovoltaic plant, one of the winning solutions was very suitable for creating a biodiversity hotspot. The implemented solutions provide space, habitat, and forage for wild pollinator species such as bees and butterflies.”


For a sustainable future

Because the challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change are interconnected, so too are the solutions. To overcome the obstacles of the future, we need cross-functional and synergistic solutions to integrate sustainability throughout the whole value-chain.

That’s why, at Enel, innovation doesn’t start with the challenge and doesn’t end with the solution. It’s a guiding philosophy, a continual search to collaborate with big thinkers. Through our Open Innovability® model, we work with startups and entrepreneurs to create sustainable solutions for a better, greener future.

Want to join the global movement? Check out our open challenges!