Land Securities 100% Renewable, Plans UK’s Largest Shopping Center PV Array
Land Securities Group is powered by 100% renewables under a contract with SmartestEnergy, according to Tom Byrne, energy manager, and is now looking to reduce its reliance on the grid by building up its own onsite portfolio of solar and other low-carbon technologies.
The UK’s largest commercial property company has a market capitalization of 8.19 billion pounds ($10bn) and a portfolio including 13 retail parks, 13 shopping centers and 23 leisure destinations. In London alone, it has 6.2 million square feet of office and retail space, including 20 Fenchurch Street, a 525ft City skyscraper nicknamed the “Walkie-Talkie.”
Last year, Land Securities produced at its buildings some 1.8GWh of low-carbon or renewable heat and electricity, mainly from solar, but also from its hydrogen fuel cell — the first in the City of London — and it has plans for more. “We have two solar PV projects [in our pipeline]” said Byrne, and “combined these will add a further 0.65GWh a year”. One of these projects is set to be the largest shopping center PV array in the U.K., at 785kw.
In March 2017, Land Securities announced it was the first property company in the world to have its greenhouse gas emissions target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. A partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, WRI and WWF, the initiative supports target setting in line with the decarbonization required to keep the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. Land Securities’ goal of a 40% carbon-intensity reduction by 2030 will in part be achieved through grid decarbonization, said Byrne, but also by reducing its own energy demand and that of those tenants for whom it procures power.
On the merit of setting a science-based target, Byrne said that “historically, companies have set targets based on what they think they can achieve”, but the science-based target approach changes that and “generally come[s] up with fairly ambitious goals.” He acknowledges that it is going to take more than one company to meet the climate science target, but there is also a lot of “merit in individual companies doing this themselves for their own business gain.”
The following is an extract from the Bloomberg Clean Energy and Carbon Brief.
Q: What is Land Securities’ emissions target?
A: We have set a target of 40% carbon intensity [in tons of CO2 per square meter] reduction by 2030 compared to a 2013-2014 baseline. This is a science-based target that has been signed off by the Science Based Targets initiative. They are the leading body helping companies set emission targets in line with climate science and also verifying [them] against a strict set of criteria.
Q: Why did you decide to implement an intensity target?A: We wanted to make sure the target could apply to the entire portfolio. The nature of [the] property [industry] is that portfolios will expand and potentially contract. We wanted to make sure that we could always judge our performance in relation to past portfolios. Having an intensity metric based on meter-squared allows our portfolio to grow without hampering our progress in reducing our carbon emissions...