Enel’s major commitments to renewable energy and sustainability goals – and willingness to ditch coal faster than other European utilities – is bolstering its credit-worthiness in financial markets, said S&P Global Ratings.

The ratings group said Italy-based Enel, which has emerged as one of the most ambitious players in global renewables, had demonstrated a long-term plan that “notably embraces and aims at profiting from the energy transition away from fossil fuels, on which Enel still depends for about half of its power generation”.

A research note by S&P analysts highlights Enel’s plans to hit more than 60GW of renewables by the end of 2022, up from 46GW now, under its latest strategic update published in late 2019. It plans to slash coal capacity by 61% in the same timeframe.

“This is, to date…one of the largest pipelines in renewables in the world. We believe this not only marks the group's acceleration in green energy but also reflects its balance sheet capacity and a strong market positioning,” said the analysts.

“We believe Enel's ability to seize profitable opportunities as it proceeds through the energy transition is a key credit strength.”

S&P Global noted that Enel has improved its financial rating in recent years thanks to greater exposure to renewables and networks, and progress in integrating UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It said the latest strategy update makes “more remote” any downside risk to the improved BBB+ rating the Italian group was given in 2018.

Enel was on Tuesday named eighth-most sustainable global corporation in a ranking that put offshore wind group Orsted at the top.