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Unilever UK sites to be powered by 100% renewable wind energy

Fifteen UK sites1 are now using electricity from renewable wind sources as part of a new contract with Eneco

Eneco wind farm

Since April this year, Unilever UK has become the dedicated beneficiary of the energy produced at the 23-turbine strong Scottish Highlands-based wind farm in Lochluichart owned by renewable energy company, Eneco UK. A total of 165GWh or 87% of the farm’s output has been purchased by Unilever UK with the site’s surplus power (24GWh) sold under a retail tariff to local communities in the surrounding area.

The new deal builds on an existing agreement with Eneco in the Netherlands, where since the New Year a wind farm in the North Sea has helped power Unilever’s offices and factories. The latest contract also follows hot on the heels of Unilever UK’s announcement to use biomethane to power five sites in the UK and Ireland. 

Both partnerships mean all of Unilever UK’s manufacturing sites sources 100% of its electricity from certified renewable sources which will help deliver long-term value and advance the company’s wider carbon reduction commitment. Only last week, Unilever revealed that across its entire business, 63% of its grid energy used is generated from renewable sources.

Yvette Edwards, Sustainable Business and Communications Director, said, “It’s been an exciting start to the year in the UK where we are on a journey to improve the sustainability of our sites. 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. 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.”

Zoisa Walton, Country Director, Eneco UK said: “Eneco is proud to partner with Unilever to provide a solution to its 2030 ambition to become carbon positive. We are committed to working with companies in realising their sustainable energy ambitions as well as the local community through our partnership with Cooperative Energy on the ‘Highlands and Mearns Wind’ tariff. It is a good example of Eneco’s mission to provide sustainable energy for everyone.”

Nigel McManus, Head of Eneco Energy Trade UK, added: “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.”

In late November 2015, Unilever outlined its ambition to become carbon positive, eliminating fossil fuels from its operations and directly supporting the generation of more renewable energy than it consumes. Through the ambition, which is part of the Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever will:

  • Source 100% of our total energy across our operations from renewable sources by 2030 Source all electricity purchased from the grid from renewable sources by 2020
  • 2030 Source all electricity purchased from the grid from renewable sources by 2020
  • Eliminate coal from its energy mix by 2020
  • Directly support the generation of more renewable energy than the company consumes and make the surplus available to the markets and communities in which it operates

1 15 Unilever UK sites will source renewable wind energy from Eneco as part of a three year contract. Some sites also have the capacity to generate their own electricity from natural gas.

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