On track towards electricity-neutral production chain by 2025

Klaas Vos, Global Sustainability Manager Supply Chain

Generating all required electricity within its own chain

Reading time:
3 minutes

Case One of FrieslandCampina’s objectives of its sustainability strategy is to be electricity neutral by 2025 by generating all required electricity within its own chain. This is also an important step in our ambition of being carbon neutral by 2050. FrieslandCampina’s member dairy farmers play an important role in this by generating solar and wind energy and energy from mono-manure digestion on their dairy farms. However, additional initiatives are also being developed within the production chain.

Recovering investments for energy efficiency within five years

One of these initiatives is to make the first FrieslandCampina production facility in the Netherlands eletricity neutral in 2020. Klaas Vos, Global Sustainability Manager Supply Chain: “This concerns de production facility in Veghel, known as Nutrifeed. Nutrifeed is specialised in the production of high-quality young animal nutrition for calves, piglets, goats and lambs in the global market place. This requires electricity, for example for the mixing and packaging installations, logistics and transport.

Combination of energy efficiency and solar energy

“This production facility for young livestock feeds then operates electricity neutral,” Klaas continues. “The first step here was to achieve the maximum possible energy efficiency, in particular by replacing regular lighting with LED lights, and optimising the air conditioning system and various processes. We obtained many good ideas for this from our own employees. The second step was to produce our own electricity through means of solar panels installed on the roof of our production facility. The roof had to be reinforced and the roofing had to be modified for this purpose.

Quick result with minimal investment

Does a project like this require a great deal of investment? Klaas: “We will be able to recover the investment for implementing all of the energy efficiency ideas within five years. We had to invest in modifications to the roof of the production facility for the installation of the solar panels, but for the panels themselves we decided to work with an external supplier. The supplier retains ownership of the solar panels and we receive a discount on the electricity we consume. This way, we minimise the amount of investment and will still be able to quickly migrate to electricity neutrality at this facility. The electricity produced by the solar panels will be fully used within this production facility. Furthermore, this investment also represents an environmental gain. Due to the reduction measures and by making the facility electricity-neutral through the use of solar energy, we emit approximately 1,000 tonnes CO2 less each year.”

Combination of energy efficiency and solar energy

Same approach for other production facilities

In the meantime, FrieslandCampina is also working on other production facilities, both in the Netherlands and in other countries. Klaas: “We can use the same approach here. It is a good way of increasing our share of green electricity. The challenge is that not all roofs in their present condition are suited for the installation of solar panels. This is where we need to invest. In addition, we also have the possibility of acquiring electricity within our own chain through means of member dairy farmers who generate electricity on their farms. In 2019, these members generated approximately 420 gigawatt hours of electricity or approximately 40% of our ambition of being electricity neutral by 2025. We are therefore well on our way.



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