Royal Caribbean Cruises today announced it has signed an agreement with Southern Power, a U.S. wholesale energy provider and subsidiary of Southern Company, for its 200-megawatt (MW) Reading Wind Facility. The cruise company said that this initiative will offset up to 12 percent of its emissions beginning in 2020, and that it is the latest addition to its sustainability efforts, which include programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at sea and in port.
This project, Southern Power’s eleventh wind facility, is located in Osage and Lyon Counties, Kansas, and is said to be Southern Power’s first to be validated as a carbon offset project under the Verified Carbon Standard. The agreement with Royal Caribbean provides Southern Power with the economic basis to construct the project.
“This agreement complements our longstanding strategic initiatives to reduce the company’s emissions and become a more sustainable operator,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, in a prepared statement. “We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our environmental footprint, both in the short and long term, and thanks to our partnership with Southern Power this is the latest step in our journey.”
The facility is expected to generate roughly 760,000 megawatt hours per year over the duration of the 12-year agreement, which translates to enough clean energy to offset 10-12 percent of Royal Caribbean’s annual carbon emissions starting in 2020. With this program, Royal Caribbean stated that it is able to apply a new approach while continuing its primary initiatives to advance sustainability efforts across the company’s fleet.
According to said Southern Power President and CEO Mark Lantrip, the Reading Wind is the first project in the joint development agreement with RES America Developments Inc. (RES), qualifying for 100 percent production tax credits and is an important addition to Southern Power’s portfolio.
The 200-MW project was originally developed by RES who will lead the construction of the project alongside Southern Power. Reading Wind is expected to consist of 62 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens Gamesa. The project is expected to break ground in the second quarter of 2019 and is expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2020. Southern Power will operate and maintain the facility upon completion.