Energy consumption is the most significant variable in the cost of our production processes. We carefully track and manage energy purchases, and our conservation programs are focused on continually improving energy efficiency across our plants, particularly larger facilities.
Our total energy consumption across our businesses in 2020 was 48.2 terawatt hours (TWh), representing a 5% decrease from 2019. The decrease was a result of lower plant loadings resulting from COVID-19. Our ASUs surpassed their energy efficiency goal for 2020, achieving a 3.3% improvement in energy efficiency intensity. The progress was realized through increased production at new, larger, and more efficient facilities, and hundreds of facility improvement projects involving changes to equipment and manufacturing processes
Energizing with Renewables
Increasing our renewable energy use is a key mechanism in progressing towards our new “Third by ‘30” CO₂ emissions intensity reduction goal. In 2020, we increased procurement and on-site generation of renewable energy.
We purchase renewable electricity directly through our energy suppliers or by buying Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that link our power consumption to a specific asset that generates renewable electricity. For example, in 2020 we signed a long-term agreement to purchase electricity from a new large-scale solar plant in the southwest U.S. for a large ASU. We also purchase renewable electricity directly in the United Kingdom, and through Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs), a type of REC.
In other parts of Europe, the RECs that demonstrate the electricity we use comes from renewable sources are called Guarantees of Origin (GOs). We have purchased electricity covered by GOs in France and for our production plants in Spain. We also have linked to ENGIE’s The Energy Origin (TEO), a blockchain approach that substantiates the renewable origin of the electricity we consume and is the first renewable energy blockchain to be validated by an independent third-party.
Additionally, we have installed solar arrays at facilities around the world to generate renewable electricity for use at our sites. Overall, 24% of our electricity purchases were from renewable sources in 2020.