Powering Christmas With Renewables — An “Interview” With A Top North Pole Exec

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It’s a cold and blustery Christmas morning here in southeast Florida. With temps in the 40s and a gray layer of thick clouds overhead, it’s hardly the pool-splashing, pickleball-smashing, beach-walking holiday that many visitors to our usually-balmy retreat expected. But the weather didn’t stop Santa from delivering gifts to all the good little children last night. In fact, a CleanTechnica investigation has revealed that Santa had a smooth ride across the globe, thanks to the Claus Corporation’s decision to convert facilities at their North Pole workshop to a Christmas with renewables.

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The idea began with a sprinkling of magic and fairy dust and blossomed into a full force commitment to zero emissions. “It just seemed to make sense,” stated the ever-pragmatic Simone M. Claus, CFO, Claus Corporation, who agreed to take time away from their busy schedule to chat with CleanTechnica. “We’ve seen the effects of the climate crisis around us. When the North Pole and its constantly shifting pieces of sea ice started to melt away around us, we realized that we had to make a change. It became much more than fulfilling a promise to children one night a year. We knew there was a big threat to our Arctic region and the world – that of climate pollution and global warming.”

It was clear that many neighboring Arctic residents struggle to pay for the fossil fuels they need to heat and power their homes, compounding other pressures they face. Some rely on electricity produced by their town’s diesel generators. The Claus Corporation knew that a Christmas with renewables campaign could make an impact that would have ripple effects on the community beyond their workshop.

From Fossil-Fueled Workshop to a Christmas with Renewables

The opportunity to introduce a new kind of business operation powered by the latest clean energy technology definitely took lots of planning and a vision. A supercharged carbon zero sleigh or carbon neutral home and workshop — the project at times seemed daunting. Partially, that’s because the efforts to produce gifts for children around the world aren’t constricted to one day — the Claus Corporation’s manufacturing and supply chain needs to be fully operational 24/7, 365 days a year.

They soon realized that the entire infrastructure would need to be converted.

In order to be able to have their North Pole employees work and live in a much safer, more sustainable environment, the Claus Corporation created a new Zero Emissions Experience (ZEE) working group. Tasked with touring different regional sites to learn what other areas have accomplished toward decarbonization, the ZEEs took to the road in a Hyundai Ioniq 5.

  • They rode the fully electric car ferry which crosses the Trondheim Fjord — it was such a quiet and clean ride in a pristine setting.
  • Noticing that Sweden’s plugin electric vehicle share hit record highs in November, gaining 64.6% of the auto market from 54.3% a year ago, the team calculated the impact of further transportation electrification 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 production of 356 GWh —  enough to supply 17,800 Norwegian households.
  • To add to Greenland’s 5 hydroelectric dams and 13 solar panel farms, the country is currently in the process of building new hydropower plants to increase the electricity produced from sustainable sources. In conversations with municipal authorities, the team learned that targeted areas for the supply are the capital Nuuk as well as the western coastal towns of Qasigiannguit 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, the ZEEs came to understand that more communities than ever before have embraced decarbonization — 2022 was clearly a major inflection point for clean energy, creating a tailwind for these fast growing industries. The team came away from their fact-finding trip dedicated to outlining what environmentally friendly power for the Claus Corporation would entail.

The team realized early on that habitat-friendly renewable energy from solar and wind offers a cost effective way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and can also limit the risk of an oil spill in the Arctic marine environment. Renewable energy on site at their North Pole location through wind and solar would create a significant impact but would also need to be supported by battery storage, given the scale of their operation. With total residential battery capacity in Europe expected to reach 9.3 GWh by the end of 2022, powering over 1 million households, adaptation at the North Pole seemed feasible.

Then they zoomed in on Santa’s iconic transportation mode. “All our reindeers have done a truly impressive job over the years,” CFO Claus affirmed. “But it was time to make our overall transit more efficient through a high-tech sleigh. Now a boost of battery helps them to push through turbulence and stay on schedule. In fact, battery technology allows the team to fly around the entire globe without recharging.” Prancer, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Dasher, and trusty Rudolph also have solar blankets to provide valuable protection against the rain, snow, and wind.

Final Thoughts about Christmas with Renewables

The Claus Corporation is now so committed to Christmas with renewables that they’ve become emissaries of the decarbonization of economic systems worldwide. 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.

Ultimately, from an ecological perspective, the climate crisis is requiring the Claus Corporation to make transparent the hidden cost of liquidating natural capital assets as a constraint for long term value creation. “We need action to increase the quantity and quality of our stock of nature,” their CFO revealed, “which demonstrates that acting now will be significantly less costly than delaying further.” The team doesn’t want to see any further habitats disappear as Santa flies on their annual trips, Clause added.

Next up for the ZEEs? Advocating with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) — the UN agency responsible for the prevention of marine pollution by ships — to mitigate these environmental impacts is by establishing Emission Control Areas (ECAs) that enforce strict emissions-reduction measures.

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

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Substack: https://carolynfortuna.substack.com/.

Carolyn Fortuna has 1340 posts and counting. See all posts by Carolyn Fortuna