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Smithfield, United Wind announce WindLease agreement

More than 50 wind turbines to power Smithfield farms in Colorado.

Smithfield Foods and United Wind, a national distributed wind energy developer, announced March 20 a partnership to generate on-site wind energy across farms in Colorado.

Smithfield said the project supports its renewable energy efforts across its farms and facilities that are concurrently reducing carbon emissions, generating “clean” energy and reducing the company’s environmental footprint, which includes the recent nationwide expansion of the company’s “manure-to-energy” projects.

The partnership will provide Smithfield with long-term, low-cost renewable energy for its agricultural operations and contribute to its industry-leading goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025 – the first commitment of its kind from a protein company.

"At Smithfield, we are committed to seeking out innovative ways to reduce our environmental impact, all while creating value for our company and stakeholders," said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield. "This partnership with United Wind is part of our efforts to produce the food needed to feed a growing world population while minimizing our use of natural resources."

Russell Tencer, chief executive officer of United Wind, said, "We're excited to bring competitive distributed wind energy options to food and agricultural companies like Smithfield in wind-rich environments throughout rural areas of the country. The economics and land-use attributes of distributed wind just make more sense in the areas we serve."

United Wind's WindLease provides farms and other rural businesses with a distributed wind system, sized to meet each customer's on-site load, and priced at a fixed monthly rate for the 20-year lease term. United Wind handles all aspects of the project, from permitting and construction to monitoring and maintenance, with no upfront or ongoing project related costs.

Since its founding in 2013, United Wind has developed, financed and commissioned more than 100 distributed wind projects ranging from 10 kW to 100 kW in rated capacity throughout western New York and the Midwestern U.S.

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