Waitrose advances towards off-grid with flagship energy centre

Waitrose has opened the first of two low carbon energy centres that will power its stores using locally sourced woodchip biomass in a bid to cut total emissions by 15%.

The first centre on the Isle of Wight will provide heat and power to the retailer’s East Cowes store, providing the vast majority of its energy needs making it almost independent of the national grid.

It is expected the centre, developed by outsourcing firm MITIE, will cut the store’s carbon emissions by over 750 tonnes per year and help the supermarket chain achieve an absolute emissions reduction of 15% by 2020-21 when compared with 2010 levels.

The second energy centre currently being developed in Bracknell will come online at the end of May. Using the same technology, it will cut emissions by the same amount.

Over time Waitrose hope the centres will become community energy hubs, with the potential to supply heat to local homes and community facilities.

Waitrose’s director of development Nigel Keen said: “We are committed to reducing our carbon emissions by an absolute reduction of 15% when comparing our emissions from 2010 with those in 2020 and the one-site energy centres at East Cowes and Bracknell will help us achieve our target.”

MITIE’s asset management business director Mike Tivey added: “MITIE’s partnership with Waitrose means the East Cowes store will be the first in the UK to get the vast majority of its energy needs from an independent energy source.”

Maxine Perella

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