How Voltalia measures its avoided CO<sub>2</sub> emissions

10 Aug 2023

In light of the challenges posed by climate change, the transition to sustainable energy sources has become a priority. As a renewable energy producer, Voltalia actively reduces CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere by taking practical steps towards the decarbonization of electricity. Lucie Perroys, Sustainability and ESG Data Analyst at Voltalia, was involved in developing an innovative solution: an in-house tool that accurately measures the avoided CO emissions. She shares her expertise with us.

Interview with Lucie Perroys, Sustainability & ESG Data Analyst


About Lucie

“I joined Voltalia 2 years ago after graduating from l’École des Mines d’Albi [Mines Albi School]. I first worked on the Green IT project for digital responsibility, and later joined the Sustainability team.

Since September 2021, I have held the position of Sustainability & ESG Data Analyst. My main role is calculating performance indicators related to the company’s core Mission, including avoided CO2 emissions.”


Measuring avoided CO₂ emissions: a priority for Voltalia

“Producing renewable electricity is Voltalia’s core business. This allows us to avoid CO2 emissions by eliminating the need for carbon-based energy. It’s therefore important to measure the positive impact of our actions on climate change, explains Lucie.

“Calculating avoided emissions is a good indicator of how Voltalia contributes to decarbonizing the electricity mix.”

Lucie Perroys Sustainability & ESG Data Analyst

How do you measure avoided CO₂ emissions?

"The measurement of avoided CO2 emissions is based on a fairly simple principle. It involves distinguishing between emissions of a reference situation (where the energy we would use would be carbon-based energy produced by the country’s other existing power plants) and the renewable energy project’s actual emissions.

Each project’s emissions are easily determined, since they are calculated directly in-house by our Center of Expertise

The more complicated part is calculating the reference situation emissions! There are several ways to do this, but we use an internationally recognised methodology from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This was developed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).”

Avoided CO2 emissions = reference situation emissions - actual project emissions


Voltalia empowers its employees to calculate avoided CO₂ emissions

All Voltalia employees can access this interactive, user-friendly tool hosted by the company’s Intranet. Now everyone can calculate the avoided emissions of a project.

It’s intuitive to use. For each project, users select the country and technology (biomass, hydro, solar, or wind), enter the annual production in MWh, and the carbon intensity of the future power plant to get the result.


Why did you develop an in-house tool instead of using a service provider?

“A key strength of the tool is that it gives us control over avoided emissions calculations. Our goal was to create a unique methodology shared by the whole company. We thought: we have all the skills and knowledge we’d need to build it, so let’s do it.”


What is the added value of this tool for Voltalia?

“At present, there is no single, internationally recognized methodology. This makes calculating avoided CO2 emissions complex and challenging. With our tool, all Voltalia employees can calculate avoided emissions using the same methodology. We used to have a lot of non-alignment issues – different methodologies were used in different countries – but now we’re all aligned.

Being transparent about our methodology and sources is a major goal for us. We have developed a how-to sheet which explains our methodology in simple terms, which also appears in our Statement of Non-Financial Performance Report.”

“Our tool for calculating avoided CO2 emissions provides a single methodology for the entire Group. It has been reviewed and, most importantly, certified by an independent expert, ekodev.”

Lucie Perroys Sustainability & ESG Data Analyst

In 2022, Voltalia produced 3.7 TWh of renewable energy, avoiding 1,436 kilotons of CO₂. What do you think about this result?

“It’s encouraging, especially considering our 2027 target of 4,000 kilotons. It shows that Voltalia actively contributes to reducing CO2 emissions by producing low-carbon energy.

However, the ultimate goal for all renewable energy companies would be zero avoided emissions. This would mean the planet has reached a fully decarbonized mix. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it!”

These promising results are a testament to Voltalia’s commitment to the decarbonization of electricity. In addition to its commitment to energy decarbonization, the Mission-Driven Company works to preserve biodiversity. It also contributes to sustainable development in various communities and regions. Interested in these actions?

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