08.12.2017 | Axpo Iberia supports reforestation after fires in Portugal

"A tree for every new customer"

Dozens of people lost their lives in the disastrous fires in Portugal that destroyed some ten per cent of the forest area. Axpo is making a gesture: The company will plant a tree in Northern Portugal for every new power customer to come on board using renewable energy.

Over 100 dead and many more injured - that's the sad, preliminary outcome of the forest and bush fires that took place in Portugal this year. Central Portugal and its northern region were the hardest hit, as indicated by a recent report released by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests. The figures from the national forest fire database underline the scope of the catastrophe. To date there were 16,613 fires, of which 3,639 were forest fires.

A scorched area covering 600,000 football fields

Owing to the devastating natural catastrophes in many parts of the country, countless people lost their lives or their homes and farms between May and October. The fires eradicated 418,087 hectares of agricultural land and forests - equalling the area of 600,000 football fields! That's five times over the average in the years from 2007 to 2016 in this frequently fire-plagued country.

In 2017, the fires destroyed over five per cent of the country's natural conservation areas and ten percent of the forestry zones. The total area of the damage roughly equals the entire wine-growing region in the USA. A fourth of the burned area is located in the district of Coimbra: The districts of Castelo Branco, Viseu, Guarda, and Leiria lost between 38,000 and 52,000 hectares respectively.

1,000 new customers, 1,000 new trees

In view of these facts, Axpo Iberia decided to make a small contribution to the reforestation in the affected areas. The Portuguese environmental organisation Quercus (Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza) and the Axpo subsidiary will be planting a new tree in Northern Portugal for every new customer acquired in the upcoming weeks, including the hardhit Coimbra region.

Ignacio Soneira, Head of Axpo Iberia, explains: "As a Spaniard, I know how terrible forest fires can be. What our neighbours in Portugal experienced this year is beyond our imagination. We wanted to help." According to Soneira, the aim is to plant 1,000 new trees under the campaign to acquire 1,000 new customers. The prerequisite is that the new customers buy their electricity from renewable sources.

The reforestation project will also have a personal note - and is progressing with digital support: Every new customer is assigned a tree and by means of a code the customer can follow its growth digitally for several years. The trees will be planted in February and March 2018. Axpo Iberia is full of energy to help alleviate the dreadful consequences of the forest fires in Portugal.

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