• May 23, 2024

Universal Buys Virtual Power

 Universal Buys Virtual Power
Photo: agnormark

Universal Corp. has entered into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Clearway Energy Group for energy produced by a new solar project in Texas. Universal’s contracted portion of the project is intended to address emissions from 100 percent of Universal’s annual purchased electricity demand in the United States.

“This is a meaningful step toward meeting our science-based environmental target to reduce operational greenhouse gases emissions by 30 percent by 2030,” said George C. Freeman III, Universal’s chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.

“When the solar project is operational, we expect to hit this target for our U.S. operations ahead of schedule. Universal is proud of the steps we are taking to promote the sustainability of our operations and contribute to global sustainability goals, including supporting this project that will bring additional renewable energy to the electricity grid.”

The project, which will start construction later this year and begin delivering under the VPPA in 2026, will create an estimated 350 construction jobs and produce significant new tax revenue for the local community over the life of its operations.

Universal has made a long-term commitment through the VPPA to purchase a portion of the renewable power delivered to the grid by the large-scale solar facility while also receiving the associated renewable energy certificates.

Universal’s agreement equates to around 70,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15,000 metric tons, which is 45 percent of Universal’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions in the United States. GreenFront Energy Partners provided strategic and financial advisory services to Universal throughout the procurement process.