Tesco Team Ups With Renewable Energy Investor Low Carbon to Build Three New Solar Farms in the UK by 2021

Tesco has brought forward it’s commitment to use 100% renewable electricity by 15 years to 2035. Tesco’s ambitious new plan is set to save 30,308 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year (the equivalent of taking 14,457 cars off the road) by tackling the two biggest sources of emissions in the UK, electricity production and transport. 

The supermarket giant has launched a new partnership with renewable energy investor Low Carbon that will see a major green electricity project deliver three new solar farms in the UK. The solar farms to be based in Essex, Anglesey and Oxfordshire will generate up to 130GWh of energy per year providing sufficient clean energy to power approximately 44,828 three-bedroom homes. Low Carbon’s deal with Tesco will take its advanced renewable energy pipeline to more than 4GW.

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.” 

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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. It is the leading renewable energy investment and asset management company committed to the development and operation of renewable energy at scale. To date, its investments have avoided more than 755,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is enough clean energy to power more than 255,000 homes. 

The launch of this new partnership coincided with the news that Tesco has put 30 electric delivery vans on the road in Greater London, the plan being to have a fully electric home delivery fleet by 2028.

In order to help with the wider adoption of electric vehicles across the UK, Tesco is also incorporating 2,400 charging points for customers in 600 stores, with 400 stores due to be fitted with the chargers by the end of 2020. By the time, the programme has been completed, Tesco will have boosted the UK’s electric charging network by 14%. The FTSE 100 business joined the EV100 campaign in September, which is a global initiative that wants firms to switch their fleets to green vehicles and install charging technology for their employees over the next ten years.

The current project comes after the retailer’s announcement last year that it would begin sourcing renewable energy from five onshore wind farms as well as fitting thousands of solar panels across its UK store network with 60 stores fitted out already.  

Back in 2018, Tesco committed to a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund with the ambition to halve the environmental impact of the average shopping basket.

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF UK, 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.” 

Tesco initially committed to being net zero in line with the UK

government’s 2050 target but spurred on by environmental concerns, decided to bring their deadline forward to be ahead of Sainsbury’s and Asda’s net-zero goal by five years.


Tesco UK and ROI CEO Jason Tarry 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.” 

Tesco is not only working to improve its own operations but with suppliers to support them to report and make their own carbon reduction commitments, in line with the Paris Agreement goals. Another of Tesco’s initiatives is to reduce supply chain carbon emissions by 35% across food and manufacturing by 2030, and 15% for agriculture.

The retailer has already switched to 100% renewable-certified electricity across all of its operations in the UK but is working hard towards increasing the proportion of energy it sources through PPAs and onsite generation. It currently has the largest unsubsidised PPA portfolio in the UK. 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. 

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