Top ten power companies in 2020

1 October 2020 (Last Updated October 6th, 2020 11:25)

Five of the world’s top ten energy companies in 2020 are European. Most of the ten biggest power companies anticipate no significant impact on their production and distribution activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although revenues could be affected.

Top ten power companies in 2020
Five European energy companies have made to the list of the world’s top ten power companies by revenue. Image courtesy of Factory_Easy/Shutterstock.

Five of the world’s top ten energy companies in 2020 are European. Most of the ten biggest power companies anticipate no significant impact on their production and distribution activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although revenues could be affected.

Power Technology lists the top ten power companies in 2020, based on 2019 revenues, along with the outlook for 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world’s biggest power companies: Top ten by revenue

1. Enel – $89.95bn

2. Electricite de France – $79.86bn

3. Engie – $67.3bn

4. E.ON – $46.45bn

5. Iberdrola – $40.81bn

6. Exelon Corp – $34.44bn

7. General Electric – $33.96bn

8. The Kansai Electric Power Co – $29.79bn

9. Chubu Electric Power Co – $27.34bn

10. Southern Company – $21.42bn

1. Enel – $89.95bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
Enel added more than 3GW of new renewable capacity to its portfolio in 2019. Image courtesy of Carlo Dani.

Enel’s 2019 revenues increased by 6.3%, driven by infrastructure and network operations in Latin America, distribution business in Brazil, and thermal generation activities in Italy.

Enel added more than 3GW of new renewable capacity in 2019, increasing its total renewable capacity to 42GW and exceeding its thermal generation capacity of 39GW for the first time.

The company’s investment decisions in 2019 were impacted due to weak economic conditions created by the trade tensions between the US and China and uncertainty regarding the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

Enel presented its 2020-2022 strategic plan focussing on decarbonisation and electrification in November 2019. The company plans to increase renewable capacity and gradually phase out conventional power generation assets. It also intends to increase the electrification of energy consumption to expand its consumer base and digitalise its distribution grids to increase the service quality and grid flexibility.

Enel expects no significant impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on its plans due to its geographical distribution and sound financial structure, which will help in maintaining continuity of operations.

2. Electricite de France – $79.86bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
Headquartered in Paris, Electricite de France (EDF) is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. Image courtesy of olrat/Shutterstock.

Electricite de France’s (EDF) revenues increased by 4% in 2019, contributed by the renewable sector, as well as power generation and distribution activities in the UK and Italy.

The company accelerated its investments in renewable energies, including wind and solar in 2019. Construction on approximately 4.4GW of renewable projects was started during the year such as 2GW of offshore wind projects.

Major energy projects commissioned in 2019 included the 400MW Sinop dam in Brazil and unit two of Taishan nuclear power plant in China. Construction of the 420MW Nachtigal dam in Cameroon was also commenced during the year.

EDF implemented three major plans during the year, including the solar plan involving the acquisition of 2,000ha of land, the storage development plan constituting the acquisition of Pivot Power in the UK, and electric mobility plan aimed at marketing the company’s electric mobility solutions in four of its target countries. The company also acquired Pod Point, an operator of charging stations in the UK, as part of the electric mobility plan.

EDF’s new projects construction has been impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the end of March 2020. The company, however, has strong liquidity to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its latest quarterly report. EDF has revised its nuclear output target to 300TWh in 2020 and plans to target a production between 330TWh and 360TWh in 2021 and 2022.

3. Engie – $67.3bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
Engie’s revenues in 2019 increased by 5.4% year-on-year. Image courtesy of Engie Group.

Nuclear and renewable sectors contributed to Engie’s revenue growth in 2019, which increased by 5.4% year-on-year. The company’s nuclear division was supported by the higher availability of Belgian production units.

Higher hydropower prices in Brazil added to the revenues of the renewable division in addition to the commissioning of 3GW of renewable capacity.

Engie expects a significant impact on its client solutions division due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the impact on the remaining divisions is expected to be low. The company plans to exit low profit and non-core businesses in client solutions during 2020.

It plans to focus on expanding its business through greater geographic selectivity and placing emphasis on markets with potential for expansion. Engie also intends to maintain strict operational expenditure and ensure targeted spending on business development activities.

4. E.ON – $46.45bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
E.ON’s revenues in 2019 were mainly driven by the takeover of innogy Group.

E.ON reported a 38% year-on-year increase in revenues in 2019, mainly driven by the takeover of innogy Group in September 2019. The company also transferred all of its renewable energy assets to RWE.

The acquisition of innogy strengthened the company’s energy networks and customer solutions segments. E.ON now operates regulated distribution networks in eight European countries, along with access to a 40 million customer base.

E.ON plans to invest €4.5bn ($5.03bn) in 2020 in a more selective and disciplined manner considering the uncertain environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The investments will be mainly centred on expanding its local and regional energy networks.

The company also plans to focus more on combating climate change by investing €500m ($559.93m) in installing climate-friendly upgrades to its infrastructure. The investment is part of Europe’s plans to become climate-neutral by 2050.

5. Iberdrola – $40.81bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
Iberdrola is a multinational energy company headquartered in Bilbao, Spain. Image courtesy of Iberdrola, S.A.

Iberdrola’s 2019 revenues increased by 3.9% compared to 2018, driven by network and generation activities. The company plans to accelerate capital expenditure of €10bn ($11.19bn) in 2020, which is 40% more than that in the previous three years. The investment will result in up to 4GW in new installed capacity and help in achieving a high single-digit net profit for the year.

Some of the major projects completed by Iberdrola during the year included the 500MW Núñez de Balboa project, 714MW East Anglia One offshore wind farm, and the 350MW Baixo Iguaçu hydroelectric power plant in Brazil.

Iberdrola has implemented measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its suppliers by accelerating purchase and signing contracts worth €3.8bn ($4.2bn). The company also expects no major impact of the pandemic on the commissioning schedules of its under-construction projects. It plans to commission 9GW of new renewable energy capacity in 2020.

6. Exelon Corp – $34.44bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
Exelon plans to invest $6.5bn in 2020 to deliver reliable services to its customers. Image courtesy of Taylor McKnight/Shutterstock.

Exelon Corporation reported a 3.8% year-on-year decline in its 2019 revenues which were impacted by the early retirement and sale of the Oyster Creek nuclear facility in September 2018 and ceasing of operations at the Three Mile Island nuclear generation facility in September 2019.

Reduced realised energy and capacity prices, as well as unfavourable weather conditions, also impacted the company’s revenues. The company’s nuclear generation fleet, however, achieved the highest capacity factor in the year.

Exelon invested $5.5bn in capital to modernise its electric grid and plans to invest an additional $6.5bn in 2020 to provide reliable services to its customers.

7. General Electric – $33.96bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
GE’s renewable energy segment secured 5GW of commitments for its new Haliade™-X offshore wind turbine. Image courtesy of General Electric.

General Electric (GE) reported total revenue of $95.2bn in 2019, down by 2% compared with the previous year. Renewable energy and power businesses contributed to $33.96bn of the total revenue. The renewable energy segment revenues increased by 7.8% in 2019 while those of the power segment declined by 15.9% year-on-year due to lower unit sales and services revenues. The growth in the renewable energy segment was driven by higher sales in equipment and services.

GE’s renewable energy and grid assets were integrated into the renewable energy segment in 2019. The segment achieved record unit volume sales of its onshore wind turbines and secured 5GW in commitments for its new offshore wind turbine, the Haliade™-X.

Major projects completed during the year included the 1.32GW China Power Hub Generation power plant in Pakistan, Birdsboro power plant in the US, unit six of the Opole power plant in Poland, and Ishikariwan-Shinko power plant in Japan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the company’s aviation segment while the power and renewable segments have been moderately affected. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has led GE to withdraw its guidance for 2020. Although supply chains have been constrained, project site execution is underway as orders and deliveries remain stable.

8. The Kansai Electric Power Co – $29.79bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
The Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) reported a 4.9% year-on-year decline in its revenue. Image courtesy of Taylor Ki young/Shutterstock.

The Kansai Electric Power Co’s (KEPCO) revenues declined by 4.9% year-on-year. The company’s key investments in 2019 included the acquisition of 17.67% in Electricity Northwest in the UK as part of its overseas investment plans.

KEPCO also announced the transfer of its power transmission and distribution business into a new 100%-owned subsidiary company named Kansai Transmission and Distribution to comply with the Electricity Business Act of Japan. The separation was completed in April 2020.

The Rajamandala hydropower plant in Indonesia and Nam Ngiep I hydropower plant in Lao People’s Democratic Republic were some of the major projects of the company that commenced operations in 2019.

KEPCO is yet to announce any significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its 2020 forecast.

9. Chubu Electric Power Co – $27.34bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
Chubu Electric Power’s Ikawa Dam hydroelectric power generating station is located on the island of Honshu, Japan. Image courtesy of osap/Shutterstock.

Chubu Electric Power Co’s (Chubu) revenues increased moderately in 2019 by 1% year-on-year due to fuel cost adjustment charge. Revenues from the customer services and sales segment increased by 3.2%, while those from the power network services segment increased by 0.6%.

The company commissioned the Miyako Kuzakai solar park and started the construction of a number of biomass power plants across Japan in 2019.

Chubu has not announced any forecasts for the 2020 financial year due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. The company, however, announced JPY300bn ($2.78bn) in investments over the next five years in renewable energy, overseas businesses, and new growth areas.

Chubu will also focus on developing 2GW of renewable energy sources by 2030, along with nuclear power. The first step in this direction was the integration of the company’s thermal power business into its subsidiary JERA Co in April 2019. The company also plans to separate its transmission and distribution and sales businesses into independent companies.

10. Southern Company – $21.42bn

Top ten power companies in 2020
Southern Company achieved major construction milestones for the units three and four of its Vogtle electric generating plant in 2019.

Southern Company’s operating revenues declined by 8.8% year-on-year, due to the sale of Gulf Power and other assets. The company’s focus in 2019 remained on reducing its non-renewable assets. Its coal generating capacity reduced by 2GW while renewable energy sources now account for 17% of its total generating capacity.

A key project completed in 2019 was the 100MW Wildhorse Mountain wind facility in Oklahoma while major construction milestones were achieved for the units three and four of Plant Vogtle. Construction also continued on the 136MW Skookumchuck wind farm and the 200MW Reading wind facility.

Southern Company’s operating revenues in the first half of 2020 declined by 8.3% to $9.64bn, compared with $10.51bn in the first half of 2019, due to reduced demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.