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 developed by Greenfield Energy 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-eastLondon. 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."
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.
To support Sainsbury's ambition to be the UK's 'greenest' grocer, it has achieved the following: