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Enel eying U.S. market for grid business

(Adds details, quotes)

By Stephen Jewkes and Francesca Landini

MILAN, May 16 (Reuters) – Italy’s Enel is keeping an eye on the United States for the development of its power distribution grids business as it presses ahead with plans to expand its digital footprint.

“I personally would like to have a grid in the U.S. … it makes sense for us,” the group’s head of global infrastructure and networks Antonio Cammisecra said on Monday.

Cammisecra said he would also like to have another network in central and northern Europe, but added there was nothing on the table at present.

Europe’s biggest utility distributes electricity through a network of over 2.2 million kilometres to more than 75 million end users.

It has grids in eight countries and plans to invest 44% of the 170 billion euro spend earmarked to 2030 on networks to take its clients to 86 million.

Europe’s big utilities are investing heavily to reinforce and digitise their grids for a future of clean energy, electric vehicles and mass electrification.

Speaking at a conference on the future of digital power networks, Cammisecra said the group’s new grids services unit Gridspertise would focus on the U.S. market which could represent a “big opportunity” for the Italian utility.

Enel set up Gridspertise last year to offer digital grid services to power distributors to help them upgrade networks and manage increasing amounts of power generated from intermittent renewable energy sources.

Cammisecra dismissed the idea of a bourse listing for the unit and said the group was looking for a partner to take 50% of the business. He did not say how much the unit could be worth.

Enel also said it had launched the “Open Power Grids” association to bring together network operators, manufacturers, research institutes to share and develop standards and technologies to help meet net zero carbon emission requirements.

“We think partnership is crucial and that we cannot reach our goal alone,” Enel Chief Executive Francesco Starace said.

(Editing by David Evans)

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