General Mills is breezing toward its climate change goal, as it just secured the largest wind power agreement in company history. The Golden Valley-based food company signed a virtual 15-year power purchase agreement with Roaring Fork Wind, LLC for 200 megawatts of wind energy from Roaring Fork’s Maverick Creek project in central Texas.
Along with being the largest agreement of its kind for General Mills, it’s also the second such deal the company has made, following a 2017 15-year power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems. That deal was for 100-megawatts of energy from a project in Texas’s Cactus Flats, just 10 miles from Maverick Creek.
Together, the two agreements are expected to equal 100 percent of the electricity used annually at General Mills’ owned domestic facilities.
This is a significant contribution to the company’s goal—established a few years ago—of reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the chain by 28 percent by 2025 (compared to a 2010 baseline), and by even more before 2050.
“General Mills began its milling operations more than 150 years ago with water power from the banks of the Mississippi River,” says John Church, chief supply chain officer and global business solutions officer at General Mills. "By learning from history, and tying back to our clean power roots, the equivalent of our domestic facilities' annual electricity needs will be covered by clean wind power, helping to reach our climate commitment.”
To date, General Mills has reduced emissions by 13 percent. General Mills’ climate change initiatives thus far have already earned the $17 billion company a spot on the 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the 2018 CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) Climate A- List. For full details on the company’s goals, click here.
In addition to helping General Mills achieve its climate goals, the Roaring Forks power purchase will help finance the actual construction of the wind project. Located in Concho County, Texas, the Roaring Fork project is a joint venture partnership between RES (Renewable Energy Systems) and Steelhead Americas.
The project will add to Texas’ existing nationwide-leading wind energy production output of 24,899 megawatts of installed capacity within the state alone.
With 175 jobs expected to be generated from the project, it will also add to the ever-increasing wind industry workforce, which currently stands at 102,500 workers across 50 states.
The industry is projected to deliver $85 billion in economic activity by 2020 and reach 248,000 jobs within the same time frame.
“Our strong partnership with RES ensures projects like Maverick Creek will deliver clean, reliable, low cost wind energy benefits to power America's energy economy," says Chris Rogers, senior director at Steelhead Americas, noting General Mills’ initiative is crucial to Maverick Creek’s mission. "We're pleased to be a part of General Mills' commitment to clean power, and proud that Maverick Creek is a fundamental part of that commitment.”
Adds Graham Reid, CEO for RES in the Americas: “Delivering the Maverick Creek project brings RES closer to fulfilling our vision where everyone has access to affordable zero carbon energy."