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  • Author: Olaf Schulze

Position: METRO relies on climate-friendly use of energy


METRO’s strategic climate protection target is to reduce its corporate carbon footprint by 50% in terms of CO2 by 2030 compared with 2011. To achieve this target, METRO is not only saving power, heat and drinking water and is phasing out the use of F-gases in refrigeration plants but also relies on the use of renewable and low-emission technologies. This is how we are able to substitute our energy consumption.

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Photovoltaic systems

At locations where it is technically and legally possible and economically viable, we will increasingly rely on rooftop photovoltaic systems to use the electricity at the wholesale market or delivery depot.

So far, METRO Cash & Carry operates 14 of these PV plants with a capacity of approximately 5,300 kWpeak in Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey and China. A photovoltaic system with a capacity of more than 1,000 kWpeak is planned on top of the zero-energy store in St. Pölten/Austria, which, in terms of figures, will be able to meet the entire energy needs of the new store. We are planning to add significant capacity of photovoltaic systems at METRO locations in different countries in the next few years for own consumption of the electricity produced.

Combined heat and power units

In the past few years, we have installed low-emission, high-efficiency combined heat and power units which generate the heat required in the wholesale store using natural gas and, as a by-product, produce electricity. Currently, six cogeneration units are being operated in Germany, including a gas turbine at the MCC wholesale store in Schwelm. Its heat is also used to cool goods via absorption units. Another combined heat and power unit was put into operation in Nizhny Novgorod/Russia on 1 September 2016; the next power plant will follow in the coming weeks in Ivanovo/Russia.

Small wind turbines

We only add small wind turbines when the site-specific conditions allow it, such as at our green store in Dongguan/China which was opened in 2016. There, the LED car park lighting is operated autonomously by small 300-watt wind turbines and a photovoltaic cell, as well as a battery storage system. At the warehouse in Groß Gerau/Germany, we conducted trials with horizontal wind turbines. However, our expectations in terms of performance and maintenance of these systems were not met yet.

Solar chilling systems

In Rome/Italy and Antalya/Turkey we installed solar chilling systems. However, they required heavy maintenance. Since the roof surfaces can only be used once, we decided to give priority to photovoltaic power generation on the roofs.

Purchasing green power

Insofar as we can purchase renewable energy surpluses from neighbours, we have entered corresponding physical commitments. This includes electricity from a wind park in Bangalore/India, electricity from a biomass power plant in Reichenbach/Germany for a large warehouse or heat from a wood chip heating plant in Brunnthal/Germany.

Certified green electricity is only purchased by METRO if and for as long as it comes with a steering effect. Currently, we do not purchase green electricity for own consumption in Germany, because renewable energy is usually regulated by the EEG. However, we offer hydroelectric power produced in Germany to our Real customers. A steering effect is achieved via climate protection projects, such as rain forest reforestation projects in Ecuador. These projects are associated with every green electricity and green gas contract concluded.

http://www.real.de/ökostrom.html  (in German only)

Here you can watch a video on Germany's renewable energy revolution

Olaf Schulze

Information about the author

Olaf Schulze is Head of Energy Management at METRO AG.