WestRock’s first virtual power purchase agreement project reaches commercialization

Feed: 173 - Date: 6/5/2024 - Views: 26

WestRock, a leading provider of sustainable fiber-based paper and packaging solutions, is making progress toward its science-based greenhouse gas targets by supporting the first of two Texas-based solar projects.

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 WestRock set the stage by entering into virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) with ENGIE North America (ENGIE), a subsidiary of ENGIE S.A. and global leader in the net zero energy transition.
Bernard Creek Solar, LLC, the first of two solar projects that are part of the VPPAs between WestRock and ENGIE, is now live and operating in Wharton County southwest of Houston. Under the VPPA, WestRock contracted 207 MW from the project. The 230 MW Bernard Creek solar project is on track to produce approximately 500,000 MWh annually, generating over $45 million in revenue for the county and creating more than 250 jobs during construction. 
The WestRock VPPA for the Bernard Creek project, combined with a similar project located in Bell County, will add a total of 282 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to the Texas energy grid. 
"We are pleased to play a role in the production of clean energy from large-scale solar projects and to join forces with ENGIE and Schneider Electric to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by adding more renewable energy to the grid,” said David B. Sewell, president and chief executive officer at WestRock.
Dave Carroll, chief renewables officer at ENGIE North America, remarked, "We are delighted that Bernard Creek Solar is supporting WestRock’s ambitions to meet its 2030 science-based targets. ENGIE’s projects are focused on meeting the specific needs of our clients as we work together to accelerate the energy transition in North America, and this agreement reflects that."
The VPPAs with WestRock have contributed to ENGIE surpassing more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the U.S. for 2022-2023. According to BloombergNEF's latest Market Outlook report, ENGIE has been recognized as the top developer to sell corporate energy PPAs and has ranked in the top three since 2019, with a total corporate PPA portfolio in the USA of 7.3 GW.
This initiative is one example of the actions WestRock is taking to achieve a validated science-based target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 27.5% by 2030. Schneider Electric’s Sustainability Business provided advisory services and strategy management to WestRock for these pivotal VPPAs. 
John Powers, vice president of Global Renewable Energy and Carbon Advisory at Schneider Electric, highlighted the positive impact of such initiatives, stating, "Through projects such as Bernard Creek Solar, innovative companies like ENGIE and WestRock are promoting clean energy to the grid, while contributing to local communities through economic development, new job opportunities, and a commitment to more sustainable solutions."

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