From solar farms to electric delivery fleets by 2028: Tesco takes action to hit net zero

To help bring forward its ambition to become net zero in the UK by 2035, 15 years earlier than planned, Tesco is taking new action to help tackle the two biggest sources of emissions in the UK – electricity production and transport. 

Key points

  • Tesco announces partnership with Low Carbon to create three new solar farms 
  • Stores to be fitted with solar panels as part of major renewable electricity roll-out, with 60 already fitted 
  • New electric delivery fleet introduced in London as part of plan to go fully electric by 2028 
  • Moves come as Tesco fast tracks its UK commitment to reach Net zero by 2035 

Tesco is launching a new partnership with renewable energy investor, Low Carbon, that will see the creation of three new solar farms in the UK. 

The announcement coincides with the news that Tesco has put 30 electric delivery vans on the road in Greater London this month, with plans to have a fully electric home delivery fleet by 2028.  

To support the wider adoption of electric vehicles across the nation, Tesco is also rolling out 2,400 charging points for customers across 600 stores, with 400 stores due to be fitted with the chargers by the end of 2020. 

By the time the programme has concluded, Tesco will have boosted the UK’s electric charging network by 14%. 

The solar farms in Essex, Anglesey and Oxfordshire will generate up to 130GWh of energy per year, enough to power 44,828 three-bedroom homes, and help Tesco procure more renewable energy with additionality for the grid. 

The work is part of the retailer’s commitment to use 100 per cent renewable electricity across the Tesco Group by 2030 and will save 30,308 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 14,457 cars off the road. 

The current project follows the supermarket’s announcement last year that it would begin sourcing renewable energy from five onshore windfarms. This is in addition to fitting thousands of solar panels across its UK store network, with 60 stores fitted out already.  

The new initiatives, targeting the biggest sources of UK emissions, will put the business on course for net zero in its UK operations 15 years ahead of the UK government’s deadlines. 

“Tesco has put 30 electric delivery vans on the road in Greater London this month, with plans to have a fully electric home delivery fleet by 2028”

Tesco is also working collaboratively with suppliers to support them to report on and make their own carbon reduction commitments, in line with the Paris Agreement goals. It has set a deadline to reduce supply chain carbon emissions by 35% across food and manufacturing by 2030, and 15% for agriculture. 

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK and ROI CEO said: “In 12 months’ time, the UK will host the most critical climate change summit of the decade, known as COP26. At Tesco we want to play our part. That’s why we’ve brought forward our ambition to reach net zero in our UK operations by 15 years and made a series of new commitments to help us achieve that target, including reaching a new milestone today in our journey to using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.” 

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF UK, with whom Tesco has partnered in its ambition to halve the environmental impact of the average shopping basket, said: “It’s great news to see Tesco, as one of Britain’s flagship businesses, not only bringing forward the date of its longer-term commitment to net zero, but also pushing ahead with real action in the here and now to confront the climate emergency. Renewable energy and electric vehicles are essential ingredients for the economic recovery we want to see in the UK.” 

Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive and Founder of Low Carbon, said: “We are delighted to support Tesco in its journey towards sourcing 100% of energy from renewable sources by 2030.

“Renewable energy generation at scale is central to Low Carbon’s business model and is a critical element in the fight against climate change. Partnering with forward thinking companies like Tesco will help speed the adoption of renewable energy at scale on the path to achieving a truly low-carbon economy.” 

About Tesco’s net zero by 2035 target: 

In 2009, Tesco became the first business globally to set the ambition to become a zero-carbon business by 2050. In 2017, it committed to science-based climate targets on a 1.5 degree trajectory, in line with the more stretching aspiration of the Paris Agreement.  

It has published clear milestones for carbon emissions reduction in its own operations: -100% by 2035 in the UK, -35% by 2020, -60% by 2025, -85% by 2030 and -100% by 2050 across the whole Group. Its commitments and milestones are against a 2015 baseline.  

The business has also set a deadline to reduce supply chain carbon emissions by 35% across food and manufacturing by 2030, and 15% for agriculture. 

About Tesco’s 100% by 2030 renewable electricity target

This is a Group-wide target. To help reach it, Tesco is prioritising solar panel deployment on or near stores in the UK and Ireland for on-site generation.  

By 2030, it intends to source the remaining electricity required to power its operations from Grid PPAs and certificates, allowing the estate to be 100% powered by renewable electricity. 

The new PPAs Tesco has agreed in partnership with Low Carbon will support its efforts to procure renewable energy with additionality for the grid. This means the agreement will help add more renewable electricity to the grid. The business now has the largest unsubsidised PPA portfolio in the UK. 

Tesco intends to move to 100% in Central Europe by Spring 2021 and already sources all its electricity in the UK, Ireland and Slovakia from certificate-backed renewable electricity. 

More information on Tesco’s ambition to use 100% renewable energy by 2030 can be found here:  

 About Low Carbon

Low Carbon is a leading renewable energy investment and asset management company committed to the development and operation of renewable energy at scale.

Low Carbon invests in renewable energy projects across a range of renewable energy technologies including solar PV, wind, energy storage, waste-to-energy and energy efficiency. To date, its investments have avoided more than 755,000 tonnes of CO2, enough clean energy to power more than 255,000 homes. 

Low Carbon has a proven track record in the development, construction, financing and management of renewable energy assets and remains involved in the projects for the long term with a dedicated asset management team that manages assets on balance sheet and for third parties.

The team is actively engaged in the UK and European waste-to-energy market and with a renewable energy pipeline of more than 4GW. They are well-positioned to capitalise on opportunities as the need for renewable energy and energy security increases. 

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