Kimberly-Clark has substantially increased its environmental efforts after announcing its aims to power its north American mills with renewable wind energy.
As part of the agreement, it will annually purchase 1,000,000 megawatt hours (245 megawatts – MW) of electricity from two new wind power projects in Texas and Oklahoma.
The renewable energy supplied by the wind farms is equivalent to about one-third of the electricity needs of its North American manufacturing operations and will enable the company to surpass its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal four years earlier than anticipated.
The company has entered into long-term power purchase agreements to take 120 MW or 78% of electricity to be generated by the Rock Falls Wind project being developed by EDF Renewables in northern Oklahoma and 125 MW or 42% of the electricity to be generated by the Santa Rita Wind Energy Centre being built by Invenergy in West Texas.
The renewable energy supplied by the two wind farms will enable K-C to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 550,000 metric tonnes annually.
Lisa Morden, global head of sustainability at K-C said: “These agreements mark K-C’s first use of utility-scale renewable energy and are a step-change in our energy and climate strategy to reduce climate change impacts, improve operating efficiency and benefit cost savings.
“Adding wind-generated electricity to the energy mix will enable the company to achieve more than a 25% reduction in GHG emissions in 2018, which is four years ahead of the original 2022 target to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 2005 levels.
“These two renewable energy projects combined with a number of other energy initiatives across the company put Kimberly-Clark on-track to deliver significant multimillion dollar cost savings from energy and climate projects by 2022,” she added.
Six large-scale electricity cogeneration facilities with waste heat recovery, including a seventh project recently announced and under construction at the company’s Mobile, Alabama manufacturing facility (due to start-up in 2019).
Four biomass thermal energy generating plants will provide steam for the company’s tissue operations.
The Rock Falls Wind project will become operational by the end of 2017 and the Santa Rita facility is expected to begin commercial operation by the second quarter of 2018.