The Volkswagen brand is stepping up the use of renewable energy in production with a view to further reducing its environmental footprint. Starting this year, the three production plants of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH have been supplied with Volkswagen Naturstrom electric power from 100% renewable sources by VW Kraftwerk GmbH. This measure is playing its part in meeting the target of Volkswagen’s Think Blue.Factory environmental program to produce each vehicle and component in a way which is 45% more environmentally compatible in 2025 than in the base year of 2010.
Volkswagen Naturstrom is TÜV-certified eco-power generated at the hydropower plants of the Viennese energy supplier Verbund AG in Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria. The documentation of origin is recorded in the register kept by the German Federal Environmental Protection Agency (UBA). Verbund has cooperated with VW Kraftwerk since 2011 and cooperation was extended until 2025 this year.
From 2018 onwards, e-Golf production at the Dresden plant will be entirely climate-neutral. As a result of Naturstrom, power consumption is already carbon-neutral, saving 3,600 metric tons of CO2 per year. In addition, the plant is also to change over to carbon-neutral heating.
For this purpose, VW Kraftwerk will cooperate with three years with the South Pole Group (SPG), the world’s largest developer of climate protection projects: the 400 or so metric tons of greenhouse gas CO2 otherwise produced by heating using fossil fuels are be compensated for by carbon dioxide savings at other points.
For this purpose, VW Kraftwerk will purchase Gold Standard climate certificates earned by the sustainability projects of SPG supported by carbon credits. In the case of Dresden, this refers to climate projects in China and a reforestation project in Brazil.
At the Chemnitz engine plant, electric power purchasing has been changed over entirely to Volkswagen Naturstrom, resulting in a CO2 saving of about 32,000 metric tons per year. At the Zwickau vehicle plant, where the Golf, Golf Estate and Passat Estate models as well as bodies for Bentley and Lamborghini are produced, about half of the power used will continue to be generated by a dedicated compact cogeneration plant designed for the high-efficiency combined generation of heat and power. The other half will be covered by Volkswagen Naturstrom generated by hydropower plants. This approach will save up to 44,000 of CO2 emissions per year.
The Volkswagen brand alone will now have a total of 11 plants purchasing carbon-neutral power from renewable sources.—Liendel Chang, Head of Environmental Production
Apart from Dresden, Chemnitz and Zwickau, this figure includes the Anchieta, Taubaté, Curitiba and São Carlos plants in Brazil, Bratislava and Martin in Slovakia, Pamplona in Spain and Polkowice in Poland.
In order to achieve our Think Blue.Factory. targets, we are committed to improving energy efficiency and to using power from renewable sources. In the meantime, about one third of the electric power used by the Group throughout the world comes from renewable sources.—Liendel Chang