Unique collaboration between Essent and FrieslandCampina for the supply of green energy by dairy farmers

22 September 2010

Energy supplier Essent and the international dairy company FrieslandCampina have entered into a unique collaboration agreement for the production and supply of green energy by FrieslandCampina’s member dairy farmers in the Netherlands. Via FrieslandCampina, dairy farmers can receive support from Essent to set up local initiatives for the production of green energy. Via Essent, FrieslandCampina will buy what are referred to as green certificates from its own dairy farmers. This initiative will allow the dairy farmers, Essent and FrieslandCampina to take an important step towards renewable energy and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in the dairy chain. Dozens of dairy farmers have already expressed an interest in the production and supply of solar, wind or biomass (manure fermentation) energy.

Essent and FrieslandCampina announced their collaboration at a presentation held at the dairy farm, Borgman-Roeterdink in Vierakker (eastern Netherlands). This company produces and even stores its own energy. From January 2011, it will be supplying energy back to the grid via Essent. The new agreement between Essent and FrieslandCampina means that FrieslandCampina member dairy farmers who are interested in producing green energy can establish a contact with Essent via FrieslandCampina. This is called the EnergieContactPunt (Energy Contact Point). Essent specialists will support the dairy farmers with solar energy, wind energy and biogas production projects. If a project is realised, the dairy farmers can supply the energy to the grid via Essent. The dairy farmers are paid the energy price (per kWh or m3), plus an amount for green certificates (guarantees of origin). Under the rules, dairy farmers receive these green certificates because they produce green energy. Based on its long-term renewable energy planning, FrieslandCampina guarantees the purchase of green certificates from its own members at a competitive price. FrieslandCampina uses the green certificates to achieve more sustainable energy consumption at its own production companies.

Looking for new opportunities together
Part of the agreement is that FrieslandCampina and Essent will both work hard to look for fresh opportunities for new forms of energy-saving or for achieving more sustainable energy consumption, from the farm gate to product delivery. The agreement formally starts now, but together with Essent, FrieslandCampina has been supporting dairy farmers who want to play an active role in the production of green energy since the beginning of this year. Dozens of dairy farmers are currently looking into the possibilities or are involved in specific projects, from solar panels to wind turbines and biogas plants.

This joint venture follows on from an earlier contract under which Essent supplies energy to FrieslandCampina. That contract stipulates that FrieslandCampina will, in turn, give energy back to Essent from a combined heat and power station.

Implementing a logical step
“Just before the summer, we announced our route2020 strategy. We believe it is vital that future generations also be able to produce and consume dairy, which is why we want to introduce more renewable energy and limit the emission of greenhouse gases in the milk and dairy production chain. As long ago as last autumn we announced our intention to do this together with our members,” said Werner Buck, Corporate Director of Public & Quality Affairs at FrieslandCampina. “Dairy farmers together own the FrieslandCampina cooperative. What could be better than the business drawing green energy from its own members for milk processing? That’s the intrinsic strength of our cooperative chain. Based on this approach, we started searching for a partner to support our members with serious plans in renewable energy projects and this agreement is the result.”
The agreement is that in 2020, FrieslandCampina will be purchasing 100% renewable energy, preferably supplied by dairy farmers. In 2009, 7% of the energy consumed by the FrieslandCampina production sites in the Netherlands was renewably generated. This year, that figure is 15% and the target for 2011 is 25%.

Inventive implementation of a partnership
One of Essent’s strategic focuses is to enter into long-term partnerships with important customers. “The collaboration with FrieslandCampina is unique because we are taking an inventive approach in developing the concept of partnership. This also ties in with the recently launched ‘Essent Levert’ (‘Essent Delivers’) campaign,” according to Jacob Ruiter, Director of B2B at Essent. “This form of extensive collaboration is new for both parties and for the dairy farmers involved. Precisely because of the combination of know-how and expertise, we expect to be able to accelerate local energy production and supply.”