Materials manufacturer Covestro and energy provider EnBW have signed a long-term corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) for solar-generated electricity. Under the agreement, Covestro has secured 63 MW of capacity from EnBW’s 187 MW Weesow-Willmersdorf solar farm in Brandenburg, Germany. The EnBW-operated solar array is the biggest of its kind in Germany and has been implemented without any subsidy under the German Renewable Energy Sources Act. This agreement with Covestro is the first PPA for the project. The solar power will be deployed at the German Covestro sites in Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen for 15 years from the beginning of 2022. The company will use the renewable energy there primarily for the production of more sustainable, mass-balanced plastics manufactured in a so-called drop-in process using alternative raw materials. These include mass-balanced polycarbonates and mass-balanced thermoplastic polyurethanes.
Converting its energy supply to renewable energy sources is a central pillar in the strategy of Covestro. The company is fully aligning itself with the circular economy and aims to make its production climate-neutral in the long term. “By sourcing solar power from EnBW’s farm, we are underlining our ambition to play a pioneering role on the road to a climate-neutral future and once again sending out a signal for the expansion of renewable energies in Germany. The climate-neutral transformation of the industry requires large quantities of renewable energies at internationally competitive prices,” said Dr. Klaus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer at Covestro.
EnBW’s solar farm near Berlin with its 465 000 solar panels has been fully connected to the grid since March 2021. “We have long worked on the principle that renewable energy can hold its own on the market without subsidies. PPAs are an important tool for making subsidy-free generating assets commercially viable. They are also pivotal to the energy transition, as they help industrial consumers achieve their climate targets quickly and efficiently. This makes PPAs particularly attractive for companies with energy-intensive production. We are delighted to be able to support Covestro’s production with our solar energy,” explained Dr. Georg Stamatelopoulos, Chief Operating Officer Generation & Trading at EnBW.
More sustainable plastics due to green energy
Covestro intends to primarily use the solar power from EnBW in the production of mass-balanced and ISCC Plus-certified high-performance plastics of the Makrolon® RE and Desmopan® product series at its sites in Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen. “This enables us to further enhance the sustainability of our production processes and to help our customers reduce their carbon footprint while maintaining the same quality,” Dr. Klaus Schäfer added.
The Group is already able to produce selected grades of Makrolon® RE polycarbonate that are climate-neutral from cradle to factory gate. Covestro also produces Desmopan® thermoplastic polyurethane with an improved carbon footprint. Polycarbonates are used in electronics products and car headlights, among other things. Thermoplastic polyurethanes are used, for example, in household products, ski boots and industrial applications.
A key factor in being able to produce more sustainable plastics is the use of renewable energy. Covestro was an early mover in converting its energy supplies to renewables and has built up a portfolio of various PPAs in Germany, Belgium and China since 2019. The agreement with EnBW is the first PPA for solar power in Europe.
Pioneer in PPAs
EnBW is among the pioneers with regard to long-term PPAs in Germany and recently signed an 85 MW corporate PPA with Fraport, the Frankfurt Airport operating company. It plans to further step up renewable energy marketing activities in 2022 – both for the Weesow-Willmersdorf solar farm and for its two other large scale subsidy-free projects, Gottesgabe and Alttrebbin. These two 150 MW photovoltaic installations are currently under construction and are scheduled to go on stream in Spring 2022.