Tesco plans CHP plants for 50 stores

Retail giant Tesco has unveiled ambitious plans to generate energy on-site at 50 of its UK stores, making decentralised energy generation a key part of its strategy to halve the carbon footprint of its existing estate by 2020.

Installing a combined heat and power plant can cut carbon emissions from a store by up to 10 per cent, as the heat created as a by-product of electricity generation is used to warm the store. By building 50, Tesco will save the equivalent energy bill of five stores. Tesco has been testing CHP since 2006, and already has plants working at 10 sites. It will invest £27m in the expansion.

Lucy Neville-Rolfe, corporate & legal affairs director, said: "At Tesco, we care about the environment and want to lead the way in preparing for a low carbon future. We are applying for planning permission to build a CHP plant at all our larger stores and intend to build them as an integrated part of every new Extra or Superstore.

"Our trials have shown us that this is a much more efficient way to create electricity so it makes sense – both financially and environmentally – for us to put our full weight behind it. We expect our investments in CHP to have paid back within eight years and, as the technology is refined and the market matures, this will come down further still."

Most of Tesco's CHP plants will run on gas but, last month, it opened a plant at its Colney Hatch store which runs on bio-fuels such as UK-grown vegetable oil.

As well as supporting the store's heating needs, the Colney Hatch plant is the first commercial application of an "adsorption" chiller which provides cooling to the store's refrigeration cabinets and air conditioning systems. It is designed to generate up to 600kW of cooling and more than 800kW of 'green' electricity. The estimated electrical energy consumption associated with cooling demand is reduced by over a third.

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