Oil major uses COP spotlight to unveil net-zero ambitions

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Spain’s former oil monopoly has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 but admitted that current technologies would only be able to achieve “at least 70%” of that goal.

In a release, Repsol claimed it is the first oil and gas company in the world to lock down such a net-zero ambition. The oil giant wants to reduce its carbon intensity indicator from a 2016 baseline: 10% by 2025, 20% by 2030, 40% by 2040, and net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. 

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The release stated: “It is possible to achieve at least 70% of this target with the technology that can currently be foreseen, and the company is committed to applying the best available technologies to increase this figure, including carbon capture, use and storage.”

Solar PV would certainly play a role in Madrid-headquartered Repsol's highly ambitious goals as the company also announced a new 1.6GW wind and PV pipeline, taking its clean energy progress another step further.

The firm added a second utility-scale project to its portfolio in July. At the time, this was part of plans to build a 794MW new renewable pipeline in Spain, including the 204MW Sigma PV project in the southern province of Cádiz.

This week's new announcement was also timed with the launch of the COP25 Summit in Madrid, Spain, where other incumbent fossil fuel firms who are now in the front line of the energy transition have called for similar targets at a countrywide level.

Indeed, European majors EDP, Enel, Iberdrola, Ørsted, SSE, Statkraft and Verbund said in a letter that the EU should set targets to become climate neutral by mid-century.

Repsol is now increasing its target for low-carbon electricity generation target from 3GW to 7.5GW by 2025 and is looking to expand into other markets to become a leading international player in renewable energies. Its new 1.6GW announcement will be spread across two PV projects and one wind plant.

The firm currently has 2,952MW in operation and 1,083MW under development. It also plans to integrate renewable energy into refining operations, which will include the production of green hydrogen.

To help enforce its climate-related change in paradigm, Repsol has also included making 40% of its long-term variable pay to managers and executives based on objectives related to complying with the Paris Agreement.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in Europe and beyond will take centre stage at Solar Media's Solar Finance & Investment Europe (London, 5-6 February) and Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 31 March-1 April 2020).

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