Cargill said this week it is making progress in its operations with new renewable energy projects, announcing 10 new global renewable energy projects, most of which will be on line in the next year. Cargill currently uses 15 different renewable energy sources around the world, including wind and solar power.
The renewable energy projects represent a vital component of Cargill’s expanding renewable energy portfolio and progress against its climate commitment to reduce overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its operations 10% by 2025 (against a 2017 baseline). This is in addition to its commitment to reduce GHG emissions in its global supply chains by 30% per ton of product by 2030, also measured against a 2017 baseline. Both climate change commitments are science-based targets and are aligned with the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
“To help us meet our climate commitments, we’re focused on operating more efficiently, pursuing emissions-reducing technology and investing in renewable energy to power our operations or offset our emissions,” said Jill Kolling, Cargill vice president of sustainability. “We continue to invest in renewable energy projects to change the way we power our operations, harnessing the innovative, economic and environmental benefits of renewable power.”
Upon completion, the 10 new renewable projects together are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions approximately 350,000 metric tons a year, which is comparable to providing electricity for more than 40,065 homes per year. Together, these investments represent a tangible commitment by Cargill to reduce its GHG emissions and address its footprint globally:
- Solar farm in Childress County, Texas. Cargill is participating in a solar farm in partnership with Ardent Mills. The physical solar power will be purchased from the Misae Solar I project by Cargill’s retail electric provider, MP2 Energy, through its parent company, Shell Energy North America (U.S.) LP. The solar farm will provide energy to six Cargill facilities in central Texas. The solar farm achieved commercial operation in May 2020, and Cargill will begin to receive solar energy in May 2021. Cargill’s portion of the solar farm offtake will provide a reduction of 35,000 mt of carbon dioxide per year.
- Illinois solar project with Geronimo Energy in Coles County, Ill. Cargill and Geronimo Energy partnered on a virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) for the Prairie Wolf Solar Project. This is the second virtual PPA between Cargill and Geronimo Energy. The project is estimated to offset carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 285,000 mt annually -- the equivalent of the annual energy use of 32,887 homes.
- Utah renewable energy credit (REC) swap. Cargill partnered with a solar developer to receive RECs, which will permit the Timpie plant to offset approximately 95% of the plant’s electrical consumption for the next several years, which is the equivalent of 2,675 mt of carbon dioxide annually.
- Supporting community solar in Minnesota and New York. Cargill is supporting solar power in Minnesota as a participant in the Xcel Energy Solar Rewards Community Program solar gardens, which allows Cargill’s plant in Monticello, Minn., to receive a credit on its utility bill and also delivers electricity to Minnesota’s local power grid. In New York, Cargill is supporting solar power by participating in two community solar gardens at its plant in Lansing.
- Wind project in Chile. Cargill is participating in a wind power purchase agreement in Chile for two years. The agreement will provide Cargill with wind power to run the Cargill Aqua Nutrition plant in Coronel and the associated international RECs, providing a savings of roughly 14,000 mt of carbon dioxide annually, or the amount of energy used for 1,616 homes for one year.
- Brazil wind farm. Cargill signed a PPA with Omega Energy to provide 100% of the energy used for the plants in Ilhéus and Barreiras in the Brazilian state of Bahia and the port terminals in Miritituba and Santarém in the state of Pará with energy from the wind farm located in the state of Piauí. When the wind farm becomes operational in 2022, Cargill’s portion is expected to provide savings of nearly 10,500 mt of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the annual energy use of 1,212 homes.
- Solar project in Colombia. Cargill partnered with a local energy company to construct a solar farm near its plant in Villagrogona, Colombia. The solar farm will fulfill approximately 42% of the plant’s electricity needs, delivering clean solar power and reducing approximately 2,500 mt of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
Europe, Middle East, Africa
- Solar project in the Netherlands. Cargill recently completed the installation of an on-site solar project at its facility in Velddriel, Netherlands. The total installation size is around 100 kWp, which will save 50 mt of carbon dioxide. This means that during the day, the facility will be powered 100% by energy from the solar panels.
- Renewable energy project in India. Cargill’s facility in Davangere, India, launched a joint venture with local renewable energy provider CleanMax to supply 70-80% of the facility’s electricity needs through a wind/solar hybrid power park in the state of Karnataka. The partnership will help eliminate 29,865 mt of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
In addition to the benefits these renewable energy projects provide to Cargill’s operations and the environment, they will also provide economic benefits to their respective regions and states in the form of jobs, landowner and tax payments and money spent in local communities to help enhance schools, roads and other essential services.
“The agriculture industry plays a critical role in nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. At Cargill, we believe it’s how we will come together to address global issues facing our industry, including climate change,” Kolling said. “These renewable energy projects demonstrate that agriculture is how we’ll cultivate a better future for all.”