Renewables continue to gain traction both with businesses and governments, offering solutions to reduce impacts and address issues of energy security. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is the latest to embrace renewables, signing a new agreement with EDF Energy to buy all of its electricity for its manufacturing and production sites from renewable sources up to March 2020.
JLR’s renewables purchasing program operates within a wider context of sustainability. In its 2014/2015 sustainability report, JLR stated that it would spend £36 million over the next three years in the areas of renewable energy efficiency and process improvements. The company’s most recent report reveals that it has already delivered 60 energy-saving projects and saved over 57,000 tons of annualized CO2 equivalent emissions. Highlighted projects include a roof-mounted solar array, energy mapping, combined heat and power distribution systems and building management systems.
The deal with EDF marks another step forward for the company in achieving its sustainability goals. “Our future is low-carbon, clean and efficient. Our program to reduce our burden on the National Grid doesn’t end here; we seek continual improvements, both in how we can reduce energy consumption further and how to minimize our carbon emissions,” said JLR’s executive director of human resources and global purchasing Ian Harnett.
“Our aim is to give our customers an assurance that the company’s electricity will come from renewable sources: those being in addition to the solar array at our Engine Manufacturing Center in Wolverhampton — one of the largest rooftop installations in Europe.”
Business growth and wider data capturing capabilities revealed a slight year-on-year increase in total emissions and energy use in 2016. Total energy use rose from 1,330Mwh to 1,412MWh, with approximately six percent of the new figure being attributed to newly captured data areas. JLR’s CO2 emissions also increased from 421,000 tons to 445,000 tons with 11 percent of the 2016 total resulting from newly-reported on areas.
While emissions and energy use may have seen increases, the company’s footprint per vehicle produced is on the decline as a result of its energy efficiency strategy. Energy per vehicle produced dropped by 38 percent since 2007 and emissions per vehicle produced feel from .76 tons to .67 tons in 2016. With its transition over to renewable energy, emissions are expected to decline even further.
Meanwhile, Tesla founder Elon Musk may have a solution for South Australia’s energy crisis, one that sees the country’s blackouts cease within a period of 100 days.
Regular blackouts have become the reality for South Australia’s 1.7 million residents as the closure of old coal plants and a reluctance to build new ones puts increasing pressure on power supply. Finding a solution is a top priority for the Australian government and increasing grid storage could help. Officials have been in talks with Tesla to install battery storage systems — to the tune of 100 to 300Mwh in the first 100 days — to address the problem.
According to Musk, the additional storage, which would focus on distributing renewables, would cost around $25 million. Though the company does not currently have 300MWh of batteries “ready to go,” it believes that once a deal is signed, the 100-day deadline should be ready to go ahead. If the timeframe isn’t met, Musk has offered to do the deal for free.
In addition to the potential Tesla deal, the Australian Government has developed a $550 million plan to improve energy security in the region. Included in the plan is a $150 million Renewable Technology Fund, which aims to support the development and deployment of clean energy initiatives such as solar arrays, wind and battery technology, across South Australia.