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Reflecting on COP27: Meeting the Demand for Clean Energy  

Two months ago, the world watched as the international community launched COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh. After talks stalled on key issues and an eventual extension of the conference, many were somewhat disappointed with the lacklustre ambitions of a COP27 that failed to live up to the historic COP26. Yet several key moments worthy of celebration emerged, including the agreement of the Sharm-el-Sheikh Implementation Plan.  

This Implementation Plan emphasised the urgent need for immediate, deep, rapid, and sustained reductions in global greenhouse emissions [UNFCC, 2023]. In particular, it stressed the importance of low-emission and renewable energy and a diverse clean energy mix as turnkey steps towards this goal. Further to this, parties were called upon to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies, and the adoption of policies, to transition towards low-emission and renewable energy systems.

Reaching this level of emissions is achievable only through the contribution of the renewable sector. Currently, renewable energy accounts for only 29% of global electricity generation, with electricity generation as a whole representing 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions [UNFCC 2023]. There are clear rewards to be reaped here: by increasing investments in the clean energy sector, we can move further and faster to increase our global renewable power capacity and decrease our global emissions by 2030. What’s more, we can then take advantage of the additional benefits clean energy delivers: much-needed energy security, sustainable economic growth, and widespread job creation. 

Here at Bouygues Energies & Services (Bouygues E&S), we have long understood and appreciated the potential of the sector. Sustainability remains high on our priorities, with renewable energies a core element of our journey to achieve our and our clients’ net-zero ambitions. Among our suite of energy solutions, we are at the forefront of solar PV growth, having already designed and delivered numerous solar PV farms.

This includes the largest subsidy-free solar farm in the UK, Llanwern Solar Farm. At 75MW, it’s the largest of its kind in the UK, consisting of over 187,500 solar modules spanning 300 acres. Capable of providing enough electricity to power 20,000 homes, it delivers 21,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. Its significant contribution to the UK’s renewable energy electricity generation merited a visit from the Right Honourable Alok Sharma, President for COP, in 2021, to understand how the UK is reducing its carbon footprint through solar power.

Across the country, we are similarly delivering two renewable energy projects for Cambridgeshire County Council: North Angle Solar Farm (NASF) and Swaffham Prior Energy Centre (Swaffham Prior). NASF is projected to prevent the emissions of more than 90,000 tonnes of CO2 over the project lifespan. Meanwhile, Swaffham Prior aims to deliver 100% of the thermal energy demand of this disconnected rural village through our innovative renewable heat network, reducing the village’s reliance on carbon-intensive stored fuel. Combined, these projects are actively working to realise our client’s vision of delivering net zero carbon emissions within the region by 2050, while simultaneously contributing to the growth of the UK’s renewable energy sector.

Gregory Allouis, Director of Energy Solutions emphasises: “Solar farms are pivotal across the country to accelerate the path to net zero not only for our clients, but also for the UK. Notably, the expansion of renewable energy is vital to reducing our emissions to the necessary levels, and it’s fantastic that Bouygues E&S’ expertise can contribute to this mission.”

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