Energy consumption is the most significant variable in the cost of our production processes. We carefully track and manage energy purchases, and our conservation programs are focused on continually improving energy efficiency across our plants, particularly larger facilities.
Our total energy consumption across our businesses in 2021 was 52.7 terawatt hours (TWh), representing a nine percent increase from 2020. The increase was a result of higher ASU plant loadings as the economy recovered from COVID-19 and acquisitions.
Energizing with Renewables
Increasing our renewable energy use is a key mechanism in progressing toward our new “Third by ‘30” CO₂ emissions intensity reduction goal. In 2021, we increased global procurement of renewable electricity by 14 percent compared to 2020.
We purchase renewable electricity directly through our energy suppliers or by buying Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that link our power consumption to a specific asset that generates renewable electricity. For example, in 2021 we began receiving electricity purchased from a new large-scale solar plant in the southwest U.S. for a large ASU. In Poland we signed a virtual power purchase agreement for wind energy, the CO₂ savings from which equate to the emissions of 8,500 passenger cars driven over one year or CO₂ sequestered by over 650,000 trees in 10 years.
We also purchase renewable electricity directly in the United Kingdom, and through Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs), a type of REC. In other parts of Europe, the RECs are called Guarantees of Origin (GOs) that demonstrate the electricity we use comes from renewable sources. In 2021, we continued to purchase electricity covered by GOs in Spain and France, where we have linked to ENGIE’s The Energy Origin (TEO), a blockchain approach that substantiates the renewable origin of the electricity we consume and is the first renewable energy blockchain to be validated by an independent third-party.
Additionally, we have installed solar arrays at several of our facilities around the world to generate renewable electricity for use at our sites. Overall, 27 percent of our electricity was from renewable sources in 2021.