Procter & Gamble and Constellation — a leading retail supplier of power, natural gas and energy products and services — announced Thursday the development of an up to 50-megawatt biomass plant that will help run one of P&G’s largest U.S. facilities. The plant will significantly increase P&G’s use of renewable energy, helping move the company closer to its 2020 goal of obtaining 30 percent of its total energy from renewable sources.
“At P&G, we are committed to improving the environmental sustainability of our products across all aspects of their life cycle — from manufacturing, packaging, delivery and consumer use,” said Martin Riant, P&G’s Executive Sponsor of Sustainability, and Group President of Global Baby and Feminine & Family Care. “As this project enables us to operate one of our largest global plants with a renewable energy source, it will reduce the environmental footprint of two leading brands, Bounty and Charmin. We see this as a win for our business, consumers, partners and the environment.”
In the initial planning for the facility, P&G and Constellation say they outlined sustainable “procurement standards” for the project. The plant’s fuel supply will come from biomass that would otherwise have been left to decay, be burned, or potentially sent to landfill, including discarded tree tops, limbs, branches and scrap wood from local forestry operations, crop residuals, such as pecan shells and peanut hulls, and mill waste, such as sawdust.
These standards complement P&G’s responsible wood fiber procurement policy for its tissue, towel and absorbent hygiene business, as well as Constellation’s commitment to energy options for customers that benefit the environment.
For more than 30 years, the Albany facility has successfully used a smaller onsite biomass boiler to convert wood scraps into renewable steam, providing about 30 percent of the total energy. The new facility will replace P&G’s aging boiler with a highly efficient combined heat and power biomass unit. Incoming biomass will provide 100 percent of the steam, and up to 60-70 percent of the total energy used to manufacture paper products for P&G’s Bounty and Charmin brands.
The facility is Constellation’s newest project in its active and growing distributed energy business, which has more than 300 megawatts of assets in operation or under development.
“Constellation is uniquely positioned to help support Procter & Gamble’s renewable energy goals because of our leadership in both retail energy supply and distributed generation,” said Gary Fromer, Constellation’s SVP of Distributed Energy. “Increasingly, our customers are looking for comprehensive energy options that enhance operational efficiencies and sustainability. Constellation can deliver innovative, clean energy solutions that drive value for our customers.”
Georgia Power’s purchase of energy from Constellation, at or below its avoided cost, is part of the company’s strategy to encourage and cultivate renewable energy sources in Georgia. Constellation is under contract to sell 42 MW of capacity and energy from the 50-MW facility to Georgia Power.
“We’re committed to working with our customers, including leading Georgia businesses such as Procter & Gamble, to create new avenues for renewable energy innovation,” said Norrie McKenzie, VP of renewable development for Georgia Power. “The Albany project is a perfect illustration of this continued effort.”
Construction activities have begun on the site with the plant scheduled to begin commercial operation in June 2017. Construction is expected to create up to 500 new jobs over the next two years, with an additional 50 to 70 permanent local jobs for ongoing operations once the plant is built.
The biomass plant also furthers P&G’s goal of sending zero waste to landfill — a status achieved by 70 of its manufacturing plants to date, which VP of Global Sustainability Len Sauers said in December has created $1.6 billion in value for P&G over a 5-year period. The company, as a founding member of the Closed Loop Fund, is also working to eliminate its packaging waste and increase the amount of recycled materials available for reuse in new packaging.