Powering ahead with green electricity
As part of Umicore’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, the Group signed three long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) using renewable wind energy --- one PPA to power Europe’s first cathode materials plant in Poland and two PPAs to power its sites in Belgium, which is home to two of Umicore’s largest sites in the world.
When deciding on the location for new plants, the availability of low-carbon electricity supply is a key criterion for Umicore, while for its existing sites the Group continues to invest in projects to power them with green electricity and further reduce its scope 2 emissions.
For Umicore’s new greenfield plant in Nysa, Poland, ENGIE will provide green electricity from its fully-owned wind park in Pągów, Opole province, located 80 km from the site. This means that Europe’s first cathode materials plant will be carbon neutral right from the start of production, which is expected to take place by mid-2022 and sets Umicore well ahead of its peers.
For Umicore’s four Belgian sites Umicore signed two PPAs. ENGIE, a worldwide reference group for carbon-neutral energy and services, will be providing Umicore with around 100 GWh (Gigawatt hours) of renewable electricity per year until 2030 from its offshore wind turbines in the Belgian North Sea. Under a 14-year PPA with Axpo, an international leader in energy trading and the marketing of solar and wind power, Umicore will receive renewable electricity from an onshore wind farm in Belgium. Umicore has exclusively secured the production from this wind farm, with Axpo providing around 35 GWh per year until 2035. These two agreements started in early 2021. They will cover more than half of the electricity demand from Umicore’s Belgian sites, including the world’s leading refiner and recycling site in Hoboken and Umicore’s research and development headquarters in Olen.
Umicore is powering several of its sites worldwide with renewable electricity and has numerous projects ongoing. For instance, its site in Olen plans to add two onsite wind turbines, which would take renewable electricity production on the site to more than 50%. Umicore’s new plant in Americana, Brazil, which opened in 2021, is entirely supplied by 85% wind and 15% hydropower. Regarding some of our solar projects, construction at our automotive catalyst plant in Shirwal, India, started at the end of 2021 while since January 2022, our rechargeable battery materials plant in Jiangmen, China, is equipped with a photovoltaic power installation.