General Mills has committed to source 100% renewable electricity by 2030 after joining the RE100 global corporate initiative.
With some renewable energy projects currently underway and more to be implemented, General Mills claims these will reduce its Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions in its global operating facilities.
Projects include two large-scale wind farms that will produce renewable energy credits (RECs) and anaerobic digestion, which uses methane from waste to generate electricity.
General Mills has a 1.6 megawatt generator fuelled by the anaerobic biodigester at its Murfreesboro plant in Tennessee, a 335 kilowatt biogas regeneration plant at its Paranavai Yoki facility in Brazil, and a 195 kilowatt biogas regeneration plant at its Häagen-Dazs production facility in France.
These facilities use self-renewing bacteria that convert plant process wastewater into biogas fuel. Power and waste heat from the generators are fed directly back into the facilities, with excess sent to the local electric utility, reducing its annual grid power and natural gas purchases.
In 2017, General Mills signed a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) with RES Americas for 100 megawatts of the Cactus Flats wind project in Texas, followed by another PPA with Roaring Fork Wind for 200 megawatts of its Maverick Creek wind project in central Texas.
Together, these wind farms will reportedly produce enough RECs to cover 100% of the electricity used annually at the company’s owned US facilities.
“We have a responsibility to use our scale for good, and people and planet are our primary considerations,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer for General Mills.
Melendez added: “We continue to seek out and invest in solutions and programmes that will restore and regenerate our natural resources which we are all dependent upon.”
Through 2019, General Mills has reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of its extended value chain by 14% compared to its 2010 baseline, as it aims to meet its 28% goal by 2025.
Sam Kimmins, head of RE100, said: “We are pleased to welcome General Mills to RE100. It is great to see such an influential business commit to 100% renewable electricity globally.
“General Mills’ leadership sends a strong signal to the wider industry that corporations can make a major contribution to the creation of tomorrow’s clean, resilient energy systems.”
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