Climate change is the defining issue of our time, as governments and companies around the world aim to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Such a major issue requires a major response, and offers many opportunities.
The need for the energy transition and the European Union’s multibillion-dollar Green Deal, coupled with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are creating huge global opportunities for companies and investors, as they mandate a shift to sustainable industry, renewable energy generation, electric vehicles and high-capacity batteries.
Products will be increasingly produced using carbon-free energy generated by solar and wind power, as well as by green hydrogen. According to BloombergNEF, renewables (wind and solar) are now the cheapest way to produce electricity, and costs will continue to fall.
The Net Zero Action Summit, hosted by Mytilineos, brought together corporations and international institutions to discuss these business opportunities that will decarbonize the global economy.
“We must be bold in designing new, innovative targets, including looking at consumption, especially for energy-intensive industries,” said Evangelos Mytilineos, Chairman and CEO of Mytilineos, at the company’s summit—Net Zero Action: From Challenge to Opportunity for Accelerated & Sustainable Value Creation—on Feb. 18, which took place as part of the company’s announcement to be net zero by 2050. “We feel more pressure from society, with demand for change coming from businesses, policy makers and social leaders for a better future.”
“There is no dilemma between climate change policies and business profitability if you use innovative technology.”
Evangelos Mytilineos, Chairman and CEO, Mytilineos
Source: BloombergNEF (January, 2021). Investments in hydrogen, carbon capture, energy storage, electrified transport, electrified heat, renewable energy.
Meanwhile, net zero is a key target for national governments as well as companies. Greece is one of many countries moving away from coal and fossil fuels toward a more renewable energy system.
Mytilineos, one of Greece’s biggest industrial and energy companies, with more than 3,800 employees in more than 30 countries, is leading the nation in addressing the climate challenge and embracing net zero. In advance of its summit, the company, whose businesses range from aluminum production to thermal power plants, renewable energy projects and infrastructure, announced that it would cut its carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and be net zero by 2050.
“We are the first Greek company, as well as one of the first industries in Europe and the world, that sets clear targets and is committed to minimizing its carbon footprint,” said Evangelos Mytilineos.
Mytilineos believes that sustainable growth is the key to future success, and the company has been integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into the heart of its business strategy for several years. Building on its record of cutting its emissions per unit of revenue by more than 15% year-over-year for the past four years, the company’s Sustainable Engineering Solutions (SES) and Renewables & Storage Development (RSD) units will achieve net zero emissions and be carbon neutral by 2030.
Through its Power & Gas unit, Mytilineos aims to kick-start the low-emission electricity market in Greece by switching from coal to natural gas.
The group’s Metallurgy unit will cut its emissions per ton of aluminum by 75% by 2030, reducing the unit’s total emissions by 65%. In line with this target, the unit has been reducing the energy demand of the production process, and making substantial savings in the use of natural resources through the recycling of aluminum products (scrap). Since recycling scrapped aluminum requires only 5% of the energy needed for the production of primary aluminum, it simultaneously produces 95% less greenhouse gas emissions. By the end of 2021, the unit’s total aluminum capacity will reach 250,000 tons, with 24% from recycled aluminum.
The RSD unit will significantly increase its installed solar power capacity worldwide in the coming years as governments and businesses focus on rapidly integrating clean energy into their energy mix. With a strategic focus on global markets—with projects in Greece, the U.K., Spain, Italy, Uzbekistan, Chile, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia—the RSD unit is playing a growing role in the company’s success, increasing the number of solar PV and energy storage projects it develops for Mytilineos and third parties.
In February, Mytilineos acquired a portfolio of 20 solar farms in progress from Egnatia Group in a €57 million ($68 million) deal, and the projects’ total capacity of 1.48 GW will be online by the end of 2023. The entire portfolio has been included in a fast-track process, while it is estimated that the total investment will amount up to €1 billion ($1.2 billion). Mytilineos’ pipeline of solar projects at various stages of development globally now exceeds 4 GW.
Recognizing the key role that power storage will play in the energy transition, and to optimize the performance of its own renewable energy projects, Mytilineos also acquired 25 electricity storage projects and signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 200 MW of solar power as part of the Egnatia deal, the first such deal in Greece.
The per-MWh price for Mytilineos’ 15-year PPA is the lowest for solar PPAs in Europe in 2020.
BloombergNEF, March 2021
The RSD unit also successfully completed the construction of “one of the largest megaprojects built in Europe last year,” according to its majority owner, Ellomay Capital; the 300 MW Talasol solar project in Spain was completed on time and budget, despite the impact of the global pandemic.
SES, formerly Mytilineos’ EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) & Infrastructure business unit, focuses on projects aimed at increasing sustainability and accelerating the energy transition, alongside its traditional pipeline of infrastructure projects and thermal energy plants. With the help of the European Recovery Fund, significant opportunities to help revive the Greek economy now exist in sectors such as solid and liquid waste management, hybrid and off-grid energy, energy upgrades and new renewable energy projects.
Mytilineos is also supporting sustainability directly through its own investments. In December 2020, through its SES unit, the company signed up as the leader of an EPC joint venture for the Protos Energy Recovery Facility project in the U.K. The plant will treat 400,000 tons of non-recyclable waste per year as part of the Net Zero North West initiative, which aims to develop the U.K.’s first low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030.
“There is no dilemma between climate change policies and business profitability if you use innovative technology,” Mytilineos said. “It will make companies stronger and more competitive. We will emerge stronger from the climate crisis.”