From coal to wind

From coal plants to renewable energy. At Endesa, we are experiencing the biggest change in our history to drive decarbonisation and the energy transition. How? Find out through the story of Sonia Bielsa, the fourth generation of a family to work at Endesa. 

 

 

“I remember the first time I visited the thermal power plant. I was a girl and when I went into the control room, all the lights and alarms made a big impact on me. That was when I first become interested in energy”. Sonia Bielsa, engineer and wind farm maintenance supervisor, is talking about the Andorra plant in Teruel, where her father was a deputy shift manager.

Sonia is the fourth generation of their family to work at Endesa. It all started with her great-grandfather, who worked in the mines, an industry whose story runs parallel to the history of our company, from its birth in a coal-powered power station almost 80 years ago to the present day, characterised by the promotion of renewable energies as part of the decarbonisation process.

Sonia started her working life at the Andorra plant and, when it closed, she joined the team working at the wind farms that were built in the area. “In July 2019, my life changed. When the plant closed, I was lucky enough to get a job as operation and maintenance supervisor at the new Muniesa, Farlan and San Pedro de Alacón wind farms." 

"When the Andorra plant closed, I was lucky enough to get a job as operation and maintenance supervisor at the new Muniesa, Farlan and San Pedro de Alacón wind farms."

– Sonia Bielsa, operation and maintenance supervisor at Enel Green Power Spain, Endesa's renewable division.

 

A fair transition to an emission-free energy model

Much of the local population worked in the mines or in the plant, so the closure was a source of local concern and uncertainty. However, according to Sonia, “people are being reassigned and we hope that new projects and new industries will be attracted to the area so that the people can carry on”.

The process of changing the energy model is a challenge for the entire sector, which is experiencing the most important industrial reconversion in its history. Endesa is approaching this with the responsibility of promoting plans for a just transition in the environments most affected by the closure of coal plants. These plans include encouraging economic activity and employment and also the necessary training for professional retraining of the affected workers.

In the case of Andorra, the construction of 1,725 MW of renewable power is planned in the municipalities of Andorra, Alcorisa, Alcañiz, Calanda and Híjar, a project that includes the largest solar plant under construction in Europe and a large-scale energy storage system. We will also carry out a green hydrogen project that will bring sustainable investments to the province of Teruel.

 

Working for a sustainable future

Taking care of the environment also means taking care of our future and that of our children. That’s why Sonia is proud to be able to contribute her knowledge and daily work to address climate change and show her love for the place where she was born and where she lives with her family. “I love being out in nature, going for a run, letting go of stress… This is what I want, both for myself and for my children and my children's children. I want them to enjoy nature ”.

At Endesa, we change to keep being ourselves. In our 2021-2023 Strategic Plan, we have reinforced this commitment to decarbonisation with increased investment in renewable energy, digitalisation of the power grid, and electrification of residential demand and that of sectors such as industry and transport. Our renewable assets will grow 30% by 2023 compared to 2020, meaning that 89% of our mainland output will be free from CO₂ emissions by the end of 2023

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