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  • Satellite Evolution

HISPASAT and Repsol Foundation to develop satellite assisted reforestation and CO₂ offsetting

HISPASAT, the Spanish satellite telecommunications operator of the Red Eléctrica Group, has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Repsol Foundation to develop high-end technologies that will be applied to the reforestation sector to offset CO₂ emissions.

The agreement was signed by Jordi Hereu, President of HISPASAT; Antonio Brufau, Chairman of Repsol; and Enrique Enciso, CEO of Grupo Sylvestris. These new technological solutions will be applied to the Repsol Foundation’s Green Engine project, Spain’s largest reforestation program for offsetting emissions, which envisages reforesting 70,000 hectares of land over the next 5-7 years with a capture of 16 million tons of CO₂. In doing so, Green Engine will become a point of reference for technological innovation applied to forest engineering for CO₂ absorption.

Forest monitoring by satellite

The use of HISPASAT’s satellite technology in Green Engine, which ensures universal, efficient and continuous connectivity, will make it possible to develop solutions geared towards controlling forest growth and very accurately certifying the amount of carbon absorbed by the trees over the years, and doing so with a thoroughness that is key to certifying emission offsets.

To achieve this, the latest technologies for generating satellite data, including high-resolution Earth observation imagery and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, the sensors of which transmit collected data and big data, block chain and artificial intelligence via satellite, are used for analyzing and processing the data obtained.

Digitalization is a crucial aspect of Green Engine, essential for undertaking large-scale reforestations that are sustainable over time, as well as for using these new forests to offset CO₂ emissions. A firm commitment to consolidating large-scale reforestations as a natural climate solution, being established as a key driver in taking action against climate change and complying with the Paris Agreement. Thanks to their universal coverage, satellites are an ideal tool for ensuring that this digitalization is possible at any remote point where Green Engine actions are to be implemented.

The agreement also aims to accelerate the Green Engine project, and to do so, it provides for the possibility of extending the project to new markets, as well as applying new formulas for growth in the national territory. Likewise, it encompasses the growth momentum of the voluntary carbon market by applying methodologies that will improve the efficiency of projects that offset emissions through large-scale reforestations.

The President of HISPASAT, Jordi Hereu, has indicated that satellites are the ideal tool for providing efficient and universal connectivity that ensures accurate control and tracking of these new forests. “We are very proud to participate with the Repsol Foundation and Grupo Sylvestris in an initiative for the sustainable development of our country that is as significant as Green Engine. Green Engine is a project that will allow us to combine satellite applications with a major innovative component that could be deployed at any point under our coverage footprint,” affirmed Hereu.

Moreover, Antonio Brufau emphasized that “the large-scale reforestation activity that we are already carrying out through the Repsol Foundation’s Green Engine Project, and which is developed in conjunction with Grupo Sylvestris, required a top-tier technology partner that would help place value on the full potential of the project and of the forested areas as natural carbon sinks. Spain has an enormous potential for developing an inclusive, green economy and for protecting biodiversity through new forests, and this agreement converts Green Engine into a point of reference for technological innovation applied to forest engineering for CO₂ absorption.” “Accordingly, the satellite monitoring, tracking and control of forests and their growth require additional state-of-the-art digital technology so that the carbon absorption process is as scientific, accurate and rigorous as possible,” stated the Chairman of Repsol.

Green Engine, a project with a three-fold transformative effect

The Repsol Foundation, together with its partner company Sylvestris, launched Green Engine in 2021 with the aim of promoting reforestation as a tool for offsetting emissions in the framework of the ongoing energy transition. Green Engine is a project with a three-fold economic, social and environmental impact. In addition to its clear environmental benefits, Green Engine has a transformative effect on society and the economy.

Thanks to this project, inclusive, local employment is being created in the so-called rural Spain, where plantations are created and there is a special focus on hiring vulnerable groups. Furthermore, it gives a boost to the rural economy, promoting specialized training and the creation of new businesses linked to the forestry sector, as well as attracting economic activity and generating wealth in the surrounding communities. It is already being carried out in Extremadura and Asturias, with the support of the Government administration and private entities, and it is expected to extend to new regions soon.

Through this partnership with HISPASAT, Green Engine represents a future investment that will invigorate not only the business sector and employment, but also innovation and research applied to the forestry sector. In the project design, technology has always played a fundamental role, being present in the design and development of forests, the selection of land and seedlings, materials used, planting techniques and the subsequent tracking and maintenance. A unique and distinct methodology developed by the experts at Sylvestris, which aims to create resilient new forests in the long term and protect biodiversity.

As such, the agreement reached by HISPASAT and the Repsol Foundation falls within the Red Eléctrica Group’s Sustainability policy, which promotes a firm commitment to act preventively to preserve and improve the natural environment, minimizing the unwanted impacts of the activity and putting special focus on fighting climate change and preserving biodiversity.


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