Saint-Gobain, a global industrial designer, manufacturer, and distributor of materials and services for the construction and industrial markets, signed a 200 MW solar power purchase agreement (PPA) with TotalEnergies. TotalEnergies is a multi-energy company with over 100,000 employees in oils and biofuels, natural gas, renewables and electricity operating in more than 130 countries.
“With this agreement, Saint-Gobain North America will dramatically reduce its CO2 emissions while sending a strong signal to the market that the manufacturing industry is ready to commit to green electricity,” said Mark Rayfield, CEO of Saint-Gobain North America.
The 200 MW PPA is expected to reduce Saint-Gobain’s North American carbon emissions from electricity, known as scope 2 emissions, by 210,000 metric tons annually. This represents a 33% offset of the company’s scope 2 emissions. The agreement is expected to start at the end of 2024.
This is the second major power purchase agreement made by Saint-Gobain, following a wind energy project in Illinois. Together, the two projects are expected to equate to a 62% reduction in Saint-Gobain North America’s scope 2 emissions.
“Our ambition in the U.S. is to become a key partner for corporate players committed to achieving carbon neutrality by offering them innovative and cost-effective renewable solutions to decarbonize their electricity consumption,” said Marc-Antoine Pingnon, managing director, TotalEnergies Renewables USA.
A year ago, lawmakers called on the Department of Environmental Services to shut down Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in New Hampshire after a September 2021 test conducted by the state showed the company is still emitting toxic PFAS chemicals into the air. The Department of Environmental Services (DES) found several deficiencies at the facility, most stemming from an unauthorized bypass stack that Saint-Gobain built without the state’s permission.
The problem is part of a six-year saga that has placed Saint-Gobain under scrutiny for its environmental practices. It highlights the need for decarbonization and improved environmental stewardship in the construction and industrial sectors.
Saint-Gobain has made several efforts to improve its sustainability in recent years, including:
- Started operations at its new electrical powerhouse on its flagship campus in Worcester, Massachusetts, which is projected to reduce the site’s carbon dioxide emissions by 50%.
- Launched a circular economy initiative at its Buchanan, New York facility to reclaim gypsum wallboard as feedstock.
- Installed a smart meter water system and upgraded manufacturing equipment at its Georgia facility, which is expected to save two million gallons of water per year.
- Created its first zero-carbon manufacturing site for wallboard in North America in Montreal, increasing the plant’s production capacity by 40%.
- Installed recycling technology at its gypsum wallboard plant in Nashville, Arkansas to save an expected 65,000 tons of material per year from landfill.
As for the newly-signed 200 MW solar PPA, Rayfield said, “This renewable energy project is critical to meeting Saint-Gobain’s commitment to reduce scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 33% by 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.”
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