Tesco’s major green investment goes live with windfarm in the Scottish Highlands

A new windfarm backed by Tesco is now live and generating much needed renewable energy. Created as part of the UK’s largest ever unsubsidised renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), this new source of green energy will drive progress towards Tesco’s UK net zero commitments.

In partnership with ScottishPower, the 30MW 15-turbine Halsary wind farm in Caithness, Scotland, will provide enough clean energy to power the equivalent of almost 20,000 homes a year. This represents a major step towards powering Tesco stores directly from renewable sources and becoming a net zero business by 2035, while helping to make renewable energy cheaper and more accessible for the rest of the UK too.

The UK needs to quadruple renewable generation over the next 30 years to meet its net zero targets and onshore wind is now the cheapest way to generate new electricity in the UK – making it key in tackling the climate emergency. Partnerships like the one with ScottishPower are critical to bridge the gap in investment and infrastructure needed to hit the UK’s net zero target.

In 2019 Tesco announced a major project to source green electricity directly from five windfarms. These are part of the largest unsubsidised renewable PPA in the UK covering five windfarms and four solar farms, which when completed will provide nearly 600GWh every year. This is equivalent to powering nearly 80,000 homes and will create more than 560 additional jobs. When these are all operational it will supply Tesco with over 20% of its electricity needs direct from renewable energy.

These long-term agreements are central to Tesco’s strategy to source renewable electricity, and are expected to guarantee procurement over a 15 year period on average, giving energy providers confidence to invest and create new energy for the National Grid. Every one of its PPAs will deliver additionality to the grid, meaning every project over its lifetime will put more back in than Tesco takes out so that others can access more affordable renewable energy.

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK and ROI CEO said:

“This is a critical year for climate action and these long-term renewable energy agreements are crucial to securing Tesco’s future energy needs and meeting our net zero commitments.

“These partnerships will also help create more affordable access to renewable energy and support the UK in realising its climate change targets.

“Real change requires that businesses now start moving from making commitments to driving transformative action. Now is the time to accelerate our efforts to tackle the biggest challenge of our lifetime.”

Lindsay McQuade, CEO ScottishPower Renewables said:

“Halsary is the first ScottishPower windfarm to be developed without a government support scheme and we’re very proud its completion will bring more clean energy on to the grid and support Tesco’s net zero ambitions.

“With just a few months until the COP26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow, milestones like this really matter and show we can all do our bit for a cleaner and greener future.

“There’s a growing market across the UK for partnerships like this, which deliver new green assets and bring clean energy to the market, and these will be crucial in delivering the changes needed at the necessary pace and scale to tackle the climate emergency and reach net zero.”

Ivan Mckee, Minister for Business, Trade, & Enterprise in Scotland said:

“We all need to play our part in ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change, and the private sector has a key role in this journey. Scotland can show the rest of the world how it’s done – and ensure our people, businesses and communities are at the forefront of a greener, more sustainable economy.

“The decarbonisation of the electricity sector has been a major success of Scotland’s energy policy over the past decade and I am pleased to see this significant partnership between Tesco and Scottish Power going live. Our just transition to net zero presents many economic opportunities for our business community to embrace green innovation and investment, supporting our climate goals and benefitting our economy, environment and society.”

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