In-house energy team helps Solvay and others reach sustainability goals

Not many people realize this, but in addition to being a major chemical company, Solvay is also a leading European energy supplier.

The Group’s subsidiary Solvay Energy Services (SES) is an alternative energy supplier providing solutions to support the energy transition, not only for Solvay’s own activities, but for external clients as well. SES leverages our expertise in energy and CO2 management to help companies achieve ambitious sustainability goals.

In 2019, SES was voted France’s second best gas supplier by an association of major industrial and service consumers of electricity and gas.

SES also helps us reach our own Solvay ONE Planet goals. Here are three ways in which it does that:

1. SES connects renewable energy suppliers with buyers and helps improve energy efficiency 

SES helps new producers of renewable energy sell directly to large energy players. It provides solutions to maximize the production of renewable energy companies (such as Power Purchase Agreements) while providing tailor-made strategies for large energy consumers to help them increase their share of renewables and achieve their sustainability goals. SES has a portfolio of over 150 renewable energy farms in France.

Specifically regarding “green gas”, SES has things covered. It has contracts with more than 13 biomethane producers (amounting to around 200 GWh/year in production). One great example can be seen at our Melle plant in France which, thanks to an SES contract with a local agricultural cooperative, will be powered by biomethane gas. The cooperative built a facility to convert waste biomass into 18 GWh of renewable natural gas per year, which Solvay has committed to purchase for its Melle facility.

SES also enables better energy efficiency by helping internal and external clients generate White Certificates: these verify that a certain reduction of energy consumption has been achieved. “We help clients find the right projects with the best returns in White Certificates,” says Valerie Visciglio, Business Line Manager at SES. “This is important because it reduces their CAPEX and environmental footprint at the same time.” 


2. The top supplier of gas and renewable energy in France

In 2019, SES was voted France’s second best gas supplier by CLEEE, an association of major French industrial and service consumers of electricity and gas. The award was based on a survey sent to customers, which ranked companies on the quality of services. SES scored higher than some of the biggest energy suppliers in the country including Total, ENGIE and EDF.

SES supplies enough gas to fulfil the needs of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region (2.8 million inhabitants in Eastern France) every year - that’s 25 TWh of gas. It also supplies electricity equivalent to the combined consumption of the islands of Corsica, Guadeloupe and Martinique, or 5 TWh every year. SES provides these services to major industrial and service companies in France and Italy.

“We are also a top supplier of renewable energy to internal and external customers in France”, Valerie continues. “More than 1 TWh is derived from renewable sources, and this is enough electricity to power the equivalent of the needs of a city such as Le Havre” (approx. 175,000 inhabitants). Overall, SES manages €700 million in energy purchases.


3. A trusted partner in European emissions trading

An important way companies can contribute to the energy transition is by buying and selling carbon credits to offset their CO2 emissions. SES manages the CO2 trading strategy for all of Solvay’s sites in Europe, as well as for external customers.

It is crucial to have a good CO2 trading strategy to make the right moves on the markets. Industrial facilities in Europe need to stay below a certain level of CO2 emissions. If they emit more, they must buy credits; if they emit less, they can sell credits.