Emmi adds solar to Emmen site

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Group-wide, Emmi already uses almost 100% renewable electricity. Pic: Emmi
Group-wide, Emmi already uses almost 100% renewable electricity. Pic: Emmi

Related tags Emmi solar power Dairy Sustainability

Swiss dairy company Emmi and Amstutz Holzenergie AG are expanding their collaboration in the field of renewable energy.

For products manufactured at the Emmen site, such as Emmi Aktifit and Luzerner Rahmkäse, solar energy will now be used to supplement the existing wood-chip-fired heating system. The source is 1,440 photovoltaic modules on the roofs of the Amstutz buildings, which produce around 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

On the basis of its netZERO 2050 vision, Emmi has undertaken to ramp up its commitment to climate protection. Among other things, direct CO2​ emissions are to be reduced by 60% by 2027. The use of renewable energies is a strategic measure here.

At the traditional location in Emmen, more than 80% of the process energy required already comes from a wood chip facility. This was built in 2009 by Energie Wasser Luzern (EWL) on the site of Amstutz Holzenergie AG (Amstutz) and feeds hot steam into the Emmi system via a long-distance pipeline.

Amstutz and Emmi have set up an association for own consumption (Zusammenschluss zum Eigenverbrauch – ZEV). This means energy generated on Amstutz’s roofs can either be used by Amstutz itself or sold to its neighbor Emmi.

Albert Amstutz, managing director of Amstutz Holzenergie AG, said, “For over 30 years, we have been a staunch advocate of the efficient use of domestic, renewable wood energy. We are pleased that our neighbour Emmi has been using environmentally friendly “wood steam” from our company for 12 years, and that we can now strengthen our partnership for a sustainable energy future with solar energy from our roofs.”

The 1,440 photovoltaic modules covering the entire 2,700 square meters of roof space on the Amstutz buildings produce approximately 500,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year. Amstutz uses around 200,000 kWh for the works yard, the operation of the wood energy plant and apartments, while around 300,000 kWh are passed on to Emmi. 

Group-wide, Emmi already uses almost 100% renewable electricity, most of which is purchased. This means its more than 20 plants in Switzerland are supplied with 100% electricity from European hydropower.

Emmi said its strategy is to significantly increase the production of its own renewable electricity over the next few years. For this reason, Emmi has decided to also install photovoltaic elements on the roof of the new cheese dairy currently under construction at its Emmen location. These are expected to provide a further 230,000 kWh of renewable electricity from 2023, taking Emmi a further step forward in its netZERO 2050 goal.

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