01 Nov Joe Swash and Angellica Bell reveal how one supermarket powers ALL its stores with 100% renewable electricity
Fields of wind turbines have become a common sight around the UK, but how much do we know about the important role they play in fighting global warming?
Joe Swash and Angellica Bell were eager to learn more, as electricity production is one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions, so increasing the amount of energy produced from renewable technologies like wind and solar is crucial to tackling climate change.
Tesco has met this challenge head on and now powers its UK operations with 100% renewable electricity.
Angellica and Joe – who are on an eco-friendly road trip up to Glasgow where the climate change conference COP26 will take place – set out to discover how Tesco sources enough green electricity to keep the lights on at more than 3,000 stores.
A company as big as Tesco needs to generate electricity in lots of different ways to guarantee energy security.
Joe admits to being surprised when he first heard about the scale of the supermarket’s energy transition.
‘It is such a big company so a lot of effort is needed to make that move to 100% renewables,’ he says.
‘It sets a great blueprint to other supermarkets and businesses. If Tesco are doing it then there’s no reason everyone else can’t follow in their footsteps.’
For Angellica, renewable energy has been something she has been interested in from a young age, so she was keen to learn more about how it has developed.
‘I remember learning about solar power and wind turbines at school,’ she says.
‘I was excited to see how the technology has progressed and become more effective since then.’
On the way to Glasgow, the celebrities stopped off at a Tesco Extra in Lincoln and met the store manager, Alex Boak.
Angellica enjoyed chatting to him about all things sustainable as he took her and Joe up to the store’s roof to admire its solar panels.
‘Alex was enthusiastic and chuffed about everything that’s being done,’ Angellica says.
‘You read about these things but it’s amazing to be able to actually see them in person.’
The celebrities continued their journey north, taking them into Glasgow and past the famous SEC building, where COP26 will be held next month.
The pair finally reached a wind farm in Inverclyde, operated by one of Tesco’s partners, BayWa r.e.
‘You see them all the time from the road but you never really get up close and personal.’
The pair learned how the UK has to quadruple renewable generation over the next 30 years to meet its net-zero target, while meeting with Wind Farm Manager Eilidh Smith, site manager Barry Docherty and Alex Ashby, Tesco’s Head of Treasury.
They explained how Tesco is working in partnership with renewable energy companies like BayWa r.e. to invest in five new wind farms and four solar farms to reach its own target of hitting net zero by 2035 in the UK, with more planned in the future.
The ultimate aim is to produce more energy than Tesco needs itself so it can be sent back to the National Grid, helping to make green electricity cheaper for everyone.
Joe was struck by the scale and ambition of the plans.
‘It’s a massive operation and a huge financial obligation,’ he says.
‘Tesco guaranteeing they’ll buy energy from a supplier gives them the breathing space to develop more capacity because they know someone will buy it.
‘It’s a brilliant process that will help expand capacity for the future.’
This was the last stop of their journey, giving Joe a chance to reflect on the whole experience.
‘I was really impressed with everything and it is amazing what levels Tesco is going to,’ he says.
‘And the people we met on the way were all amazing – there’s a real sense that everyone is in it together.’
Angellica agreed, adding: ‘It’s important for the big companies to set an example for everyone else.
‘Tesco is a trusted brand so it’s great that they are leading on all things green.’
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