Two of Minnesota's largest food companies announced new wind power purchase agreements this month, helping offset the energy used to run their vast operations.
General Mills signed a 15-year purchase agreement with Roaring Fork Wind, LLC in Texas. When coupled with its 2017 wind power agreement, the project will offset all of the electricity used at Golden Valley-based food maker's owned U.S. facilities for the next decade and a half. It's the company's second and largest wind-power purchase agreement.
Hormel Foods Corp. made a wind power commitment earlier this month in Nebraska with a purchase agreement negotiated by Kinect Energy Group. The agreement helps the Austin-based meat company counter nearly 50% of its energy use through renewable wind power.
Both announcements join a slew of other corporations using Earth Day, which was Monday, to announce progress made toward their corporate sustainability goals. Wind power purchase agreements are measurable ways for corporations to quickly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions load through a few large deals.
General Mills' goal is to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2025 -- from the original benchmark set in 2010. The new agreement will fund the construction of the Maverick Creek wind project in central Texas, creating renewable energy credits for the food company. The farm is expected to be up and running in 2020.
Maverick Creek is 10 miles from Cactus Flats, the first wind project General Mills supported through purchasing offsets, which was completed in October.
The maker of Cheerios and Pillsbury refrigerated dough said using renewable, naturally-occuring energy sources is true to its heritage.
"General Mills began its milling operations more than 150 years ago with water power from the banks of the Mississippi River," said John Church, chief supply chain officer and global business solutions officer at General Mills, adding that this ties back to the company's "clean power roots."
Hormel also subscribes to community solar gardens at five manufacturing locations.
"We are inspired by projects that minimize environmental impacts and align with the interests of our customers and consumers around the world," said Tom Raymond, director of environmental sustainability at Hormel Foods, in a statement. "This agreement supports our company's environmental sustainability goals."
The maker of Spam and Skippy peanut butter expects the Nebraska wind project will be completed in 2020.