Greenhouse Gas Emission
Atlantica is firmly committed to providing clean, low emissions energy.
As a United Kingdom company, Atlantica is subject to, and is in compliance with the requirements of the Climate Change Act 2008 for greenhouse gas emissions reporting. Additionally, our greenhouse gas emissions management complies with the requirements of the Commission Regulation (EU) No 601/2012.
Our current goal for the reduction of carbon emissions is to reduce the CO2/MWh ratio by 10% by 2020. Internally, we measure and benchmark our periodic performance on ongoing basis. Considering the actual emission in 2017 and 2016, we are on track to meet the goal.
Our focus on renewables and sustainable technologies allows Atlantica to have greenhouse gas emissions rates at significantly lower levels than those normally produced by fossil fuel-power generators. In 2017, 1,442MW, or 83% of our installed capacity was represented by solar plants and wind farms which are naturally low-emission power generating assets. Our 300MW installed capacity plant in Mexico, ACT, uses natural gas in its highly efficient cogeneration technology to generate steam and power. The natural gas used at the plant is a waste-grade product provided free-of-charge by Pemex and upcycled by ACT into thermal power.
Emissions figures are quantified and reported according to the guidelines of the ISO 14064. Regarding this international standard, which was compiled according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, we classify our emissions into 2 groups:
Scope 1 - Emissions of greenhouse gas from sources that are owned or controlled by the Company and the Group.
Scope 2 - Indirect emissions of greenhouse gas from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam.
The Scope 3 are emissions associated to the supply chain or to transport. At Atlantica, they represent a negligible share of our total emissions. Additionally, they are not required to be reported according to the United Kingdom regulation.
The total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions generated by the Company in 2017 reached 1,847 thousand tons, a 2.6% decrease from 1,8961 thousand tons generated in 2016 which occurred mainly thanks to the implementation of our initiatives aimed at improving our efficient natural gas plant in Mexico. As part of our efforts, we installed heat recovery units to increase the efficiency.
The emissions are calculated based on the criteria defined by the GHG Protocol and includes all entities under our control. Our reported emissions also include emissions of methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) as CO2 equivalents. We used the GHG inventories conversion factors indicated by the following organizations:
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the “IPCC”)
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom
- Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (the “CNMC”) in Spain
The carbon emissions, electricity and gas consumption as well as emission factors of the efficient natural gas plant in Mexico and solar plants in Spain are subject to external audit by accredited organizations as required by the rules and regulations governing in those geographies.
Graph 1 shows tons of carbon dioxide equivalent generated in 2017 and 2016 corresponding to each of the previously described scopes.
*Emissions are considered since acquisition date of each consolidated asset.
Note: (1) The 2016 total emissions have been recalculated based on audited 2016 emissions generated by our cogeneration plant in Mexico. The total emission published in our 2016 Annual Report were based on pre-audit emissions by ACT. The audit is performed annually by an external environmental auditor licensed by the Mexican government.
As shown on the following graph, the rate of emissions per energy generation has decreased by 3%, from 0.33 equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (“CO2”) per megawatt hour in 2016 to 0.32 in 2017. The decrease is explained by lower emissions from our efficient natural gas plant in Mexico.
Around 92% of the emissions generated in 2017 come from our efficient natural gas power plant in Mexico as shown in Graph 3.
Generating electricity from renewable resources allows us to have a rate of emissions that is significantly lower than that of pure fossil fuel-generators, refer to Graph 4. This implies a total of 2.9 million tons of CO2 equivalent saved from emission to the atmosphere compared with a 100% fossil fuel-based generation.
Note: (2) Fossil fuels emissions data is published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and represents averages of carbon dioxide produced per kilowatt-hour for different fossil fuel sources