Enel CEO targeting renewable-energy business in Middle East

Rome-based utility owner Enel SpA is targeting renewable projects in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as oil-rich Gulf countries take advantage of the falling cost of solar power to diversify their energy supplies. “We will wait for the first tenders in Saudi Arabia,” Francesco Starace, Enel chief executive officer, said in an interview in Abu Dhabi, the biggest of the UAE’s seven emirates. Dubai, the country’s second-largest emirate, has also started a renewable programme, “so we will try and participate” in that, he said. Under Starace, Enel is scaling back on large power stations to focus on producing and distributing greener sources of energy. The utility reintegrated its renewable-energy spin-off Enel Green Power last year and plans to cut its generating capacity for power from fossil fuels by 39 per cent in the five years ending 2019. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and the UAE, the fourth-largest producer in Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), are both trying to reduce their reliance on oil and generate more power from the sun, among other sources. (Mahmoud Habboush/Bloomberg)

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