NEW YORK, June 15 (Reuters) – Italian energy company Enel is set to strike a deal to sell its assets in Russia and sees market turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a long-term boost for Europe’s renewables industry, chief executive Francesco Starace said on Wednesday.
“I think we are close to a final solution to this,” Starace said, speaking at the Reuters Events Global Energy Transition 2022 conference in New York, of the potential deal for its Russian assets. “A few more weeks and we should be there.
Enel owns two wind farms and three gas-fired power plants in Russia and said in March it was exploring options for those assets after Russia invaded Ukraine. Starace said the company is not yet ready to announce details of the potential deal or identify the potential buyer.
The fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also forced Europe to seek natural gas from other sources, Starace said, but the focus on increasing fuel supply fossils in the area was only temporary.
“It’s just a survival tool to get out of this period of inflation,” he said.
In the longer term, he said, the Ukraine crisis would help accelerate Europe’s transition away from fossil fuels by demonstrating how dangerous it can be to depend on foreign supply.
“The real trend, following the crisis in Ukraine, is that we will see an acceleration in the renewable energy space,” he said, pointing out that sources like wind and solar can be harnessed. at national level in European countries and abroad.
Starace said the Ukraine crisis would not affect Enel’s own goals to phase out coal by 2027 and natural gas by 2040. (Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Scott DiSavino; Editing by Bill Berkrot)