Kimberly-Clark next U.S. company to draw more on renewables

Kellogg, Estée Lauder and others this week joined a group of U.S. companies working to help support the measures outlined in the Paris climate agreement.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Sept. 14, 2017 at 9:15 AM
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Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Kimberly-Clark, a paper-based personal care production company, said today that it will now get about a third of its power needs met by wind power in Texas and Oklahoma.

The company, which has its headquarters in Texas, announced it has agreed to purchase 245 megawatts worth of electricity from two new wind power projects in Texas and Oklahoma. That's the equivalent of about one-third of its electricity needs for its North American operations.

"These agreements mark Kimberly-Clark'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," Lisa Morden, the global head of sustainability at Kimberly-Clark, said in a statement.

The purchases come from the planned Rock Falls wind energy project from EDF Renewables in northern Oklahoma and the Santa Rita wind energy facility planned by Invenergy in western Texas.

Oklahoma and Texas are among the states with the most wind energy capacity. The renewable energy division of General Electric and Invenergy, the largest independent renewable energy company in North America, started construction in July for the Wind Catcher wind farm in the Oklahoma panhandle, which will be the second largest in the world and largest in the United States, with 2,000 MW of peak capacity, once in service.

A quarterly report from the American Wind Energy Association found the sector is gaining traction. Compared with last year, there were 40 percent more wind energy projects under construction or advancing through the development stage during the second quarter.

Kimberly-Clark committed to cut greenhouse emissions by 20 percent of the 2005 levels by 2022. Its announcement follows commitments made by Estée Lauder Companies, Kellogg Company, DBS Bank Ltd and Clif Bar & Company to The Climate Group to join a growing list of companies pledging to get 100 percent of their electricity from renewable resources.

"[These companies] are not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts," Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson said in a statement from New York. "Renewable power makes business sense, and corporate leadership is absolutely key to delivering on the Paris agreement at speed."

The U.S. Energy Department this week said a solar power initiative from President Barack Obama's tenure in office had met some of its goals ahead of schedule. While President Donald Trump has focused his energy policies on fossil fuels like oil and coal, renewables have organic momentum. The department's Energy Information Administration estimated about 22 gigawatts of solar power capacity was installed at the utility level at the end of last year. That should increase by about 30 percent this year.

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