Columbus-based Cummins Inc. has entered into a virtual power purchase agreement to expand a wind farm in northern Indiana.
The agreement with EDP Renewables North America is another step for Cummins as it works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the company said.
The expansion will add 75 megawatts, enough to power 20,000 average-size Indiana homes, to the existing 600-megawatt capacity at the Meadow Lake Wind Farm complex in Chalmers, north of Lafayette. When fully operational, the wind farm expansion will generate renewable electricity equivalent to the amount Cummins uses at its Indiana facilities, the company said.
“At Cummins, our strategy is to provide clean, fuel efficient and dependable power for our customers with the least environmental impact possible,” said Brian Mormino, executive director of Worldwide Environmental Strategy and Compliance at Cummins. “Greenhouse gases are our largest impact, and we are currently working on our third facility greenhouse gas reduction goal since 2006. As we explored ways to even further reduce these emissions, we learned we could add to the renewable energy market in our headquarters state. That led us to this partnership with EDP Renewables to add low-carbon energy capacity in Indiana that will benefit the environment and the community for a long time to come.”
In a virtual power purchase agreement, the wind farm owner sells the power into the broad power markets that feed the regional electric grid. The agreement with Cummins provides certainty that enables the project to move forward as it guarantees a fixed price for that electricity. Cummins benefits as the agreement provides a hedge against rising energy prices and the company will receive the renewable energy certificates to ensure greenhouse gas reductions.
“With all of our environmental sustainability goals, we want to maximize our impact,” said Mark Dhennin, director, Energy and Environment, Cummins Inc. “Though it’s impractical to transfer the power directly to our facilities, it was very important to us to choose a project that added real renewable energy capacity in the marketplace while providing tangible environmental and community benefits.”
Cummins has been actively pursuing energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction in its facilities since 2006.
Cummins’ Environmental Sustainability Plan includes a 2020 energy intensity reduction goal of 32 percent from a base year of 2010. Also part of the 2020 goal was a commitment to increase renewable energy, and this agreement delivers on that promise, Cummins said.
In 2016, Cummins received the Award of Excellence from the Clean Energy Ministerial in the Energy Management Leadership Awards.