Enrico Viale is an engineer who was appointed Head of North America at the Enel Group in July 2019. Before that, he served as the Head of Global Generation and Head of Global Thermal Generation at Enel. Prior to joining Enel in 2003, he spent nine years at Ansaldo Energia in Italy and eight years at ABB in Italy and Switzerland. Viale has experience in conventional and renewable energy generation, as well as in distribution in Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece. He was the Chief Operating Officer in Russia from 2008 to 2014 and was subsequently appointed as Country Manager and CEO of Enel Russia. Viale holds a degree in Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Turin and an MBA from the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.
Take us through a typical workday. What are a few of your ongoing responsibilities?
I usually start my day by reading industry news from various publications. A couple of my favorites include The Economist and the Wall Street Journal. I’m generally in meetings throughout the day with my colleagues to coordinate key business activities and new initiatives to ensure they align with our company vision. In addition to these meetings, I enjoy having the chance to chat with my employees one-on-one to get more insights into what projects they’re working on and provide expertise where needed. As a leader, I strive to give my employees guidance while also listening and incorporating their feedback.
A significant part of my job includes networking with stakeholders, investors, utilities, customers, and more, which I do by attending and participating in industry conferences throughout the country and across the globe. I love meeting others as passionate about the energy transition as I am. Learning about what my colleagues and other industry leaders are doing encourages me and inspires my work.
When I’m not working, I prioritize spending time with my wife and daughters. They are ultimately the reason I do what I do. I also like to travel with my family and learn about other places and cultures.
What are some of the biggest challenges your company/organization will be tackling in 2023 and beyond?
2022 showed us that we need to diversify and expand our business offerings to help customers tackle decarbonization on all fronts. The energy landscape has become more complex and energy prices more volatile, while climate resiliency continues to be a pressing necessity for businesses, cities, and utilities. We’re going to continue to collaborate with public and private organizations, leveraging a combination of established and emerging energy solutions, to meet their sustainability goals and fight climate change.
Building out the domestic supply chain is one of the biggest challenges where collaboration will be critical. By decreasing our reliance on an increasingly complex global supply chain, we can help accelerate the completion of renewable energy projects. To help advance this effort, Enel North America’s affiliate 3Sun USA plans to develop a bifacial solar module and cell factory with a starting production of around 3 GW. This factory could eventually scale up to 6 GW, representing a major stride toward onshoring the production of these critical components.
We’re also focused on continuing the strong growth trajectory of our more mature businesses like renewable power generation and electric vehicle charging. As one of America’s largest clean power owners, we’re uniquely positioned to help move the country closer to decarbonization through new utility-scale wind, solar and energy storage. As the new Inflation Reduction Act incentives for renewables take effect, our teams are working tirelessly to develop, build and operate clean power plants across the US. Furthermore, through Enel X Way, we’re working to capitalize on the increasing popularity of EVs by rolling out the charging infrastructure needed to support their widespread adoption.
What trends do you expect to see in the market in the next few years and what challenges do you anticipate within your industry?
The IRA will drive trillions of dollars in clean energy investment over the next decade with significant provisions for renewables, energy storage, microgrids, fleet electrification and EVs, green hydrogen, and grid infrastructure. Because of this increased funding, we expect to see more technological Innovation that will modernize the grid. Businesses will explore solutions like on-site generation and there will also be heightened interest in energy efficiency and digital grid solutions to manage operating costs.
Additionally, growing concerns around energy security will further spur the creation of a more robust domestic clean energy supply chain to decrease the US’s dependence and vulnerability to global energy markets. Recent federal legislation will spur an increase in domestic manufacturing that will help address supply chain issues and reduce cost and lead time to construct new clean energy projects.
Connect with Enrico and the rest of his team at Enel North America.
The Environment+Energy Leader Honoree program is an annual list that recognizes the environment and energy “doers” who break the trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices and products to help their companies – or other companies – achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management. Meet the Honorees… is an ongoing series that will feature one E+E Honoree from 2022 each week. See the complete list of 2022 Honorees here.