Unilever bought 165GWh of Lochluichart wind farm’s output from energy firm Eneco. All of Unilever’s UK manufacturing sites now source 100% of their electricity from renewable sources.
The Marmite maker’s sustainable business and communications director Yvette Edwards said: “It’s been an exciting start to the year in the UK, where we are on a journey to improve the sustainability of our sites.
“This latest step in securing an in-country, sustainable supply of wind-generated energy is an important milestone in helping us meet our bold ambition of becoming carbon positive [creating more renewable energy than it uses] by 2030. It’s made all the more significant as any surplus supply will be sold to nearby communities, thereby progressing our vision of making sustainable living commonplace.”
Supply local communities
The wind farm will supply Unilever’s 15 UK sites with power for three years, Unilever said. Some of the sites also had the capacity to generate their own electricity from natural gas, it added.
Eneco Energy Trade UK head Nigel McManus said: “The power generated by Lochluichart wind farm will supply dedicated renewable power to the majority of Unilever UK sites for years to come.
“We will also assist Unilever to engage with the upcoming smart, flexible energy market to further reduce their costs and carbon footprint.”
Carbon positive by 2030
The deal would boost Unilever’s ambition to become carbon positive by 2030, Eneco said. The manufacturer outlined its 2030 ambition in November 2015, also aiming to eliminate fossil fuel electricity from its operations, and to support generation of more renewable energy than was used.
The remaining 13% of the wind farm’s output will be sold on a retail tariff, to supply local communities with electricity, Unilever confirmed.
In January, Unilever became carbon neutral from energy sources at five of its UK and Ireland plants. It began generating electricity from renewable biomethane gas, by converting inedible food waste and sewage into energy.
Meanwhile, last month, Coca-Cola European Partners began sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, after launching a new solar energy farm. The new solar farm will generate 15% of its Wakefield factory’s electricity – said to be largest soft drinks plant in Europe.
Unilever’s move to renewable energy – at a glance
- 15 UK sites powered by 100% wind energy
- Carbon neutral from energy sources at five UK sites
- Aiming to eliminate fossil fuel electricity at all sites by 2030