The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released this spring the third installment of its Sixth Assessment Report dedicated to climate change mitigation. The document warns that greenhouse gas emissions have continued to grow over the last decade, a trend that must be reversed urgently to achieve the Paris goals: a maximum temperature increase of 1.5ºC or substantially less at 2ºC. What are our big companies doing to reduce their carbon footprint? Throughout this report some of the realities in progress are shown.
Iberdrola It leads, for example, the development of green hydrogen with more than 60 projects to respond to the needs of electrification and decarbonisation of sectors such as industry or heavy transport. Thus, it is at the forefront of the new technological challenge posed by the production and supply of hydrogen from 100% renewable energy sources in the electrolysis process. To this end, it has built the largest green hydrogen plant for industrial use in Europe in Puertollano (Ciudad Real), using 100% renewable electricity to produce ammonia and green fertilizers.
In addition, Iberdrola and Grupo Fertiberia promote, together with the University of Huelva, the launch in Andalusia of the ‘Green Hydrogen Cluster Gateway to Europe’. The objective is to concentrate the largest production center in the industrial hub of Huelva (specifically in Palos de la Frontera)., transformation and consumption of green hydrogen to decarbonise industry and heavy transport. The cluster has more than 80 partners and plans to develop more than 600 MW of electrolyzers, which are the necessary mechanism to obtain hydrogen.
Continuing along this line, and together with Cummins, world energy leader, the company has agreed to installation in Guadalajara of one of the largest electrolyzer plants in the world for the production of green hydrogen. It is expected to be operational in 2023.
Iberdrola is also involved in the decarbonisation of other industrial processes, materialized in agreements such as the one reached with BP to develop the largest green hydrogen project in the Valencian Community. The purpose of this alliance is to install an electrolyser for the generation of green hydrogen on land owned by BP in the industrial estate of Castellón, El Serrallo.
Porcelanosa is also working on the first full-scale solution to electrify ceramic production, combining renewables, green hydrogen and heat pump. It is a solution that seeks to optimize residual thermal energy by substituting up to half of natural gas as fuel for green hydrogen.
In its decarbonization route, Iberdrola also is working with the company Foresa to analyze the development of investments in renewable hydrogen for the industrial production of green methanol in Galicia. Both companies could tackle the construction of a 20 MW green hydrogen plant (expandable to 150 MW), obtained by electrolysis with renewable energy.
A fundamental milestone in the transport sector will be the Trans-European Transport Network based on green hydrogen. It will consist of a set of priority transport networks designed to facilitate the communication of people and goods throughout the European Union. throughout this network Iberdrola will deploy, in key locations, logistics platforms for road transport (19 points, including Zaragoza, Murcia and the Valencian Community) for supplies, mainly to road truck fleets.
The project is also complementary to the one launched in the Free Trade Zone of Barcelona, where for ten years a hydrogen will serve the buses of Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) and other fleets and industries of the polygon. The commissioning of the Zona Franca hydrogen plant, which has been completed in less than a year, will allow the creation of a green hydrogen hub in one of the most important industrial areas in the country. It will serve to provide this energy vector to the TMB company, which has already put the first green hydrogen-powered bus into circulation on the streets of Barcelona.
On the other hand, Endesa announced in 2020 an investment ‘mega plan’ of 25,000 million until 2030, aimed at promoting renewables and the digitization of the electricity network, with which it is expected that, by the end of this decade, 80% of all its generation will be free of CO2 emissions.
In the short term, until 2023, Endesa has announced an acceleration in the path of decarbonisation based on a significant increase in its investments in renewable energies and the digitization of its network, as well as in the electrification of residential demand and of sectors such as industry or transportation. First, It will increase the volume of its investments by 25% for the three years of the 2021-2023 period, in relation to the 2020-2022 strategic plan, to reach 7,900 million euros. Of this figure, 3,300 million will be used to increase the renewable energy generating park, a figure that is 20% higher than in the previous plan.
With this investment, the company will reach 11,500 solar, wind and hydroelectric MW by the end of 2023. That is, around 50% more than the 7,700 MW with which the 2020 financial year ended.
Growth in clean energy is based on a project portfolio of 7,300 MW with an estimated start-up date between 2021 and 2025. Of this portfolio, 68% corresponds to photovoltaic plants and the remaining 32% to wind power. Endesa expects to obtain a profitable return on all its investment in clean energy by relying on its customer base. They rise 30% in relation to the previous plan, up to 2,600 million euros.
Regarding the companies that generate hydrocarbons, Galp currently ranks third as the largest producer of photovoltaic solar energy in the Iberian Peninsulawith an installed capacity of approximately 1 GW in production, as part of a total portfolio of 4.7 GW, including projects under development in Spain, Brazil and Portugal. It hopes to reach the goal of increasing renewable energy capacity to 4GW by 2025 and closer to the 12GW committed by 2030.
Last year, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Galp signed three financing agreements for the construction of solar power plants and the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Together, Galp and the EIB signed a total financing of 406.5 million euros, which could be increased to 731.5 million euros at a later stage. Together, the three projects support climate action and social cohesion, and will generate a total average of 3.6 TWh of renewable energy per year, equivalent to the energy consumption of almost 940,000 homes.
A report by the entity Carbon Tracker that analyzes the ecological transition capacity of large companies indicates that ExxonMobil is one of the “least prepared”, since its climate objectives are “weak” and “80% or 90%” of its portfolio of projects that follow the traditional model will not be competitive if the temperature rise is limited to 1.6 degrees Celsius. That percentage is between 40 and 50% for the Italian Eni and Repsol, and between 50 and 60% for the British BP and the French Total.
For its part, Cepsa will invest between 7,000 and 8,000 million euros throughout the decade, within its new strategic plan ‘Positive Motion’ 2030, whose objective is to lead the energy transition in Spain and Portugal, as reported by the company. This new strategy has two areas of action, sustainable mobility and new commerceand sustainable energy, which will be defined through Energy Parks (or diversified and sustainable energy parks) and alliances with other strategic partners.
More than half of its EBITDA or gross operating profit will come from sustainable businesses in 2030, at which point it plans to reduce its scope 1 and 2 carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 55%, and its scope 3 emissions by between 15% and 20%. With this, it plans to achieve net zero emissions in 2050. The company also aspires to allocate 60% of its budget to sustainable areas from 2023.
Repsol, one of the companies that emits the most CO2 in Spain, launched a comprehensive sustainable financing strategy last year to tackle its energy transition process, becoming the first company in its sector in the world to present “a innovative financial framework” that reaches all the company’s activities, as reported at the time.
Repsol, in its decarbonisation strategy, plans to reduce its emissions by 12% in 2025 and 25% in 2030 compared to the figures for 2016. In 2040 this reduction would already be 50%, to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. “We are going to transform our complexes into hubs multi-energy, capable of generating products with a low, null or even negative carbon footprint and of promoting new business models based on digitization and technology. To do this, we will rely on four main pillars: energy efficiency, the circular economy, renewable hydrogen and the capture and use of CO2”, points out this business group.
For its part, CEMEX has managed to reduce, in a single year (2021), 4.7% of carbon dioxide emitted per ton of cementitious material. This data is collected in the latest report presented by the company, ‘Building a Better Future’, which also states that 30% of the electricity used in its cement operations came from renewable energies last year. The new types of clinker (a key component of cement) used by the company already generate 20% fewer emissions.
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