12.08.2021 | Axpo Iberia supplies green electricity to potato producer Patatas Meléndez

How does a Spanish tortilla become climate friendly?

Spain's largest producer and marketer of fresh potatoes relies on power from renewable sources to reduce its CO2 emissions. Patatas Meléndez has installed a solar plant at its headquarters that generates 20% of the company's power consumption. The remaining power required by the Spanish fresh potato market leader also comes from renewable energy supplied by Axpo Iberia.

Aside from delicious Serrano ham, fantastic tapas, fish and sea food dishes like paella from its coastal holiday regions, Spain’s cuisine would not be Spanish without a certain key ingredient: potatoes. The root vegetable is widely used on the Iberian peninsula and is a main staple of native cuisine including tortilla, the national dish, patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), and papas arrugadas (potatoes cooked with sea salt).

From Latin America to Spain and around the world

Originating in Peru, where it was cultivated for thousands of years, the potato was brought to Spain by Francisco Pizarro who discovered the Inca empire, nearly 500 years ago. Its popularity quickly took hold and today there are countless recipes for potato dishes in Spain. Many other countries around the world have also discovered the delights of what is now an international culinary phenomenon.

In Spain, numerous companies cultivate and sell the popular root vegetable. With a market share of 20%, Patatas Meléndez, located in Medina del Campo in the Castilla y León region, is the country’s largest producer of fresh potatoes. Working with 526 select farmers who cultivate approximately 4,000 hectares of land, the company’s facilities cover more than 30,000 square metres and process around 217,000 tonnes of high-quality potatoes annually.

Dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions

Today, however, the humble potato faces new challenges. To reduce the company’s CO2 emissions and process potatoes in a more climate-friendly way, Patatas Meléndez signed a cooperation agreement with Axpo Iberia for the supply of energy from certified renewable energy sources. Under the contract, the Meléndez operation’s CO2 emissions have been reduced by an impressive 1,680 tonnes per year, which corresponds to 33,600 round trip flights between Madrid and Barcelona.

Solar power from the rooftop

A large photovoltaic plant for self-consumption at the Patatas Meléndez headquarters in Medina del Campo ensures that the potato producer can cover 20% of its electricity consumption with solar energy. The remaining 80% of the power needed also comes from renewable sources supplied by Axpo Iberia, one of Spain’s largest marketers of power from wind and solar plants. This ensures that 100% of the company's power consumption is provided by renewable energies.

Ensuring sustainable production

Patatas Meléndez CEO Javier Meléndez commented: "At Patatas Meléndez, we always consider the impact on the environment, people and our employees when making business decisions. Agreements like the one with Axpo Iberia are key to enabling sustainable production and passing on an intact planet to future generations. We are pleased that working with Axpo Iberia we were able to achieve this important milestone and can now rely on 100% green electricity for processing our potatoes."

Axpo Iberia Managing Director Ignacio Soneira added: "It's important for responsible companies like Patatas Meléndez and Axpo Iberia to promote energy efficiency, energy savings and the expansion of renewable energies. In collaboration with our customers, we contribute to maintaining sustainability and protecting our environment, helping them achieve their sustainability goals by supplying power from 100% renewable sources."

So that Spanish people can not only continue to enjoy their tasty tortillas but do so with a clear conscience!

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