Powering Christmas with renewable energy sources – “Interview” with the North Pole’s top executive | Daily News Byte

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It’s a cold and blustery Christmas morning here in Southeast Florida. With temperatures in the 40s and a gray layer of thick clouds overhead, it’s hardly the pool-splashing, ball-busting, beach-walking holiday that many visitors to our usually pleasant haven have come to expect. But the weather didn’t stop Santa Claus from handing out presents to all the good children last night. In fact, a CleanTechnica investigation revealed that Santa had a smooth ride around the world, thanks to the Claus Corporation’s decision to convert facilities at its North Pole workshop into a renewable energy Christmas.

The idea started with a sprinkling of magic and fairy dust and grew into a full commitment to zero emissions. “It seemed to make sense,” declared the ever-pragmatic Simone M. Claus, CFO, Claus Corporation, who agreed to take time out of their busy schedule to speak with CleanTechnica. “We have seen the consequences of the climate crisis around us. When the North Pole and its ever-shifting chunks of sea ice began to melt around us, we realized we had to make a change. It has become much more than fulfilling a promise to children one night a year. We knew that there was a big threat to our Arctic region and the world – climate pollution and global warming.

It was clear that many residents of the neighboring Arctic are struggling to pay for the fossil fuels they need to heat and power their homes, adding to other pressures they face. Some rely on electricity produced by diesel generators in their town. The Claus Corporation knew that a renewable energy Christmas campaign could have an impact that would have ripple effects on the community beyond their workshop.

From a fossil fuel workshop to Christmas with renewable energy sources

Being able to introduce a new type of business based on the latest clean energy technology definitely required a lot of planning and vision. A carbon-free supercharger sled or a carbon-neutral house and workshop — the project seemed daunting at times. In part, that’s because the effort to produce gifts for children around the world isn’t limited to a single day—Claus Corporation’s production and supply chain needs to be fully operational 24/7, 365 days a year.

They soon realized that the entire infrastructure would have to be changed.

In order for their North Pole employees to work and live in a much safer, more sustainable environment, Claus Corporation has created a new Zero Emissions Experience (ZEE) task force. Tasked with visiting different regional locations to find out what other areas have achieved in the direction of decarbonisation, the ZEEs hit the road in the Hyundai Ionik 5.

  • They rode the all-electric ferry that crosses the Trondheim Fjord – it was such a quiet and clean ride in a pristine environment.
  • Noting that the share of Swedish plug-in electric vehicles reached record levels in November, capturing 64.6% of the car market from 54.3% a year ago, the team calculated the impact of further electrification of transport at the North Pole.
  • They toured the Smøla wind farm, built in 2002, which has a total of 68 wind turbines and provides an annual output of 356 GWh — enough to supply 17,800 Norwegian households.
  • In addition to Greenland’s 5 hydroelectric plants and 13 solar panel farms, the country is currently in the process of building new hydroelectric plants to increase electricity production from sustainable sources. In discussions with municipal authorities, the team learned that the target areas for supply were the capital city of Nuuk, as well as the west coast towns of Kasigiannguit and Aasiaat.
  • They examined the nature of EU state aid rules and subsidies in Finland, which can be divided into investment subsidies, production subsidies and subsidies without long-term operational significance.

As they toured, ZEE realized that more communities than ever before had embraced decarbonization — 2022 was clearly a major tipping point for clean energy, creating a tailwind for these fast-growing industries. The team departed from their fact-finding trip dedicated to a blueprint of what an environmentally friendly powerhouse would entail for the Claus Corporation.

The team realized early on that habitat-friendly renewable solar and wind energy offered a cost-effective way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and could also limit the risk of oil spills in the Arctic marine environment. On-site renewable energy at their North Pole location via wind and solar would create a significant impact, but would also need to be supported by battery storage, given the scale of their work. With total residential battery capacity in Europe expected to reach 9.3 GWh by the end of 2022, powering more than a million households, adaptation at the North Pole seemed feasible.

Then they zoomed in on Santa’s legendary mode of transportation. “All of our reindeer have done a really impressive job over the years,” confirmed CFO Klaus. “But it was time to make our overall transit more efficient through high-tech sleds.” Now the battery boost helps them get through the turbulence and stay on schedule. In fact, the battery technology allows the team to fly around the world without recharging.” Prancer, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Dasher and the trusty Rudolph also have solar blankets that provide valuable protection from rain, snow and wind.

Final thoughts on a renewable energy Christmas

The Claus Corporation is now so committed to Christmas with renewable energy sources that they have become emissaries of the decarbonization of economic systems around the world. This affects not only the energy industry, which accounts for around 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions, but also other sectors such as transport, heat and industry.

Finally, from an environmental perspective, the climate crisis requires the Claus Corporation to make transparent the hidden cost of liquidating natural capital assets as a constraint on long-term value creation. “We need action to increase the quantity and quality of our natural resources,” revealed their CFO, “which shows that acting now will be significantly cheaper than further delay.” The team doesn’t want any more habitat to disappear while Santa flies on his annual travel, Clause added.

Next for ZEE? Advocacy with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) — the UN agency responsible for preventing marine pollution from ships — to mitigate these environmental impacts is through the establishment of Emission Control Areas (ECAs) that enforce strict measures to reduce emissions.

“The glow on children’s faces, knowing that Santa Claus is working for their greener future, is an investment we have to make,” Klaus explained.


 

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