Sainsbury’s roll out renewable energy to supermarkets

SainsburysSainsbury’s and partners roll out renewable energy to supermarkets

• Innovative energy solution reduces each supermarkets’ carbon emissions by up to 30% and energy consumption by around 30%

• Pioneering technology supports Sainsbury’s 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan goal of reducing its operational carbon emissions

Today Sainsbury's has announced that it is working with key partners E.ON and Geothermal International to roll out the first phase of an innovative energy solution to up to 100 stores, tapping renewable energy from deep underground to provide energy efficient heating, hot water and cooling.

Both new-build and existing stores have been identified as part of separate projects with E.ON and Geothermal International. These will see both companies installing and operating pioneering geo-thermal heat pump technology and follows Sainsbury’s successful world-first use of geo-thermal technology at its Crayford store, enabling it to supply 30 per cent of its energy from on-site renewable sources.

The schemes aim to deliver up to 100MW of renewable energy sources in supermarkets by the end of 2016. They are also part of Sainsbury’s 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan renewables commitment which includes reducing its absolute operational carbon emissions by 30 per cent and delivering a fully renewable heat strategy for its supermarkets by 2030.

Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury’s Property Director, said: “We are continuing to lead the way in environmental firsts. We were the world’s first to use geo-thermal technology in a supermarket to tap natural, renewable energy trapped 600 feet under the ground. We’ve also reduced our absolute electricity usage in supermarkets by over nine per cent in the past four years despite an increase in space.

“The roll out of this technology with our partners is an important milestone in our renewables commitment. It supports job creation in the renewable energy sector and our goal to reduce our absolute operational carbon emissions by 2020, as well as delivering energy cost savings for our business.”

E.ON, one of the UK’s leading energy companies, is working with thermal energy specialist Greenfield Energy which developed the technology that was first pioneered at Sainsbury’s Crayford store in south-east London. Its unique borehole designs also allow large-scale installations while using minimal land area.

Michael Woodhead, Managing Director of E.ON’s Sustainable Energy business, said: “We’ve often said the most efficient power station is the one we don’t have to build and this technology is an excellent solution to deliver locally produced, renewable energy at a scale that really makes a difference. We’re delighted to have signed up for the first ten stores and we hope very much to extend the number of sites to help meet Sainsbury’s environmental ambitions, working together to make the best use of the natural resources on offer.”

Sainsbury's other key partner is one of the UK’s leading ground source heat pump businesses, Geothermal International (GI), which is working in partnership with investment firm Octopus Investments, to support the growth of the renewables energy market in the UK. GI CEO, Brian Davidson, agrees that long-term investment in this technology is the way forward: “GI has been at the forefront of the renewable sector since it launched in 2000. Not only is this long-term contract an important win for GI, it will also enable Sainsbury’s to achieve energy efficiency benefits from day one as well as seeing a considerable improvement in its carbon footprint.”


For further information please contact:
Sarah Dunne at Sainsbury’s Press Office on 020 7695 7295 or
Andrew Barrow at E.ON UK on 024 7618 3677 or
Notes to editors:
Sainsbury’s 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan
This industry-leading plan acts as a new cornerstone to Sainsbury's business strategy and sets out 20 sustainability targets to be achieved by 2020. This plan aims to ensure the company remains at the forefront of sustainability to 2020 and beyond.
About Sainsbury’s
To support Sainsbury’s ambition to be the UK’s ‘greenest’ grocer, it has achieved the following:
• Sainsbury’s has installed 42 biomass boilers since 2008, which use wood chips or pellets - a renewable resource - to heat the store rather than fossil fuel-based gas.
• As well as using a variety of renewable energy technologies onsite, Sainsbury's has also entered into direct Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) offering a fixed price for 8 -10 years with onshore wind farms in Scotland, and biomass generators and anaerobic digestion sites. Sainsbury's currently sources over 4% of its power from such renewable sources with plans to exceed 20% by 2020.
• Sainsbury’s is the largest UK user of anaerobic digestion. Since late 2011 waste food from all stores that is not donated to charity is backhauled to the depots and put to a positive use, with all the waste bread sent for animal feed and the remainder used for anaerobic digestion to create electricity for the national grid. Sainsbury's donates surplus food to charities such as FareShare and other local organisations to ensure it is not wasted.

About E.ON and Greenfield Energy

E.ON is one of the UK's leading energy companies - supplying power and gas to around five million domestic, small and medium-sized enterprise and industrial customers. E.ON also offers innovative energy services and technologies tailored to meet its customers' needs, and is helping customers become energy fit by encouraging them to insulate their homes, moderate their energy usage and even generate their own power.

In working with Greenfield Energy, E.ON provides the necessary size and capability to allow the technology to be rolled out across the UK at sufficient scale to make a difference and highlights E.ON’s commitment to renewable and distributed energy.

The geo-exchange technology was developed by thermal energy specialist Greenfield Energy and was first pioneered at Sainsbury’s Crayford store in south-east London. A key innovation is the use of angled boreholes, adapted from the oil and gas industry, which drastically cut the amount of space needed above ground and minimises disruption to business operations.

The Geoscart closed-loop technology uses a network of pipes buried 200m beneath each store, delivering around 1MW of power both from the natural warmth of the earth’s crust and by capturing waste heat produced by the stores’ fridges.

About Geothermal International’s Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps are well proven systems to heat and cool buildings. Cold water is pumped into the ground where it is warmed up by ground temperature, returning a little warmer to a heat pump. The heat pump extracts this heat and delivers it to the building before returning the cold water to the ground. To cool the building the cycle is simply reversed with warm water flowing in the ground and cold in the building.

Today’s ground source heat pumps have a COP of 3 - 6 (e.g. for 1 unit of electricity the heat pump extracts 3 - 6 units of ‘free’ energy from the solar energy stored in the ground (in form of heat).

Ground source heat pumps use up to 50% less energy than conventional heating, and can reduce carbon emission by up to 50%.

About Octopus Investments

Octopus has a strong track record of partnering with leading renewable energy installers to provide investment and deliver innovative solutions that support the growth of the renewables market in the UK. Octopus combines significant renewables expertise with the ability to raise funds through its Venture Capital Trust and Enterprise Investment Scheme products, to help efficiently deliver renewable technologies to customers.