Unilever has today become the latest high profile firm to confirm its operations are being run using renewable power, after confirming all its UK sites are sourcing 100 per cent of their power from renewable sources.
The company said that since April, 15 of its sites in the UK have been purchasing their power from the Lochluichart wind farm in the Scottish Highlands that is owned and operated by Dutch developer Eneco.
The consumer goods giant said the deal meant Unilever UK is the “dedicated beneficiary” of the energy produced at the 23-turbine strong project, with 165GWh or 87 per cent of the site’s output earmarked for use by Unilever UK. Surplus power from the project is then sold under a retail tariff to local communities in the surrounding area.
The deal follows a similar partnership between Eneco and Unilever in the Netherlands, which has seen the company source its power from an offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
The move also follows Unilever’s announcement earlier this year that it has signed a deal with GenECO to use biomethane at five of its sites in the UK and Ireland.
The company said the two deals mean it now sources 100 per cent of the electricity for its UK sites from certified renewable sources.
The move will also make a further contribution to the company’s long term goal to source all its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and eliminate coal from its energy mix by 2020. Last week, Unilever said that across its entire business, 63 per cent of its grid energy used is generated from renewable sources.
“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 by 2030,” said Yvette Edwards, sustainable business and communications director. “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.”
Nigel McManus, head of Eneco Energy Trade UK, 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.”
The news is the latest in a flurry of announcements from high profile firms underlining their commitment to the renewable energy sector. Just last week LEGO Group announced that it had “balanced” its annual power demand with investments in new renewables capacity thanks to the official opening of the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind project, while Tesco confirmed it had signed up to the RE100 group with a pledge to source 100 per cent of its power from renewable sources.