WestRock, a prominent player in sustainable fibre-based paper and packaging solutions, has recently entered into two virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) with ENGIE North America.

This collaboration is aimed at injecting renewable energy into the US energy grid, signalling WestRock’s commitment to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

The VPPAs focus on supporting two solar projects under ENGIE’s umbrella – Bernard Creek in Wharton County, Texas, and Chillingham Solar in Bell County, Texas.

These projects are anticipated to contribute a combined 282 megawatts (MW) to the US energy grid, with operations set to commence in 2024.

WestRock’s move toward sustainable targets

This partnership aligns with WestRock’s strategy to pursue a science-based target (SBT) for a substantial 27.5% reduction in Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Schneider Electric, providing advisory services, played a crucial role in facilitating these agreements between WestRock and ENGIE.

WestRock is set to secure 207 MW from Bernard Creek, a 230 MW solar project situated southwest of Houston, expected to yield an annual output of approximately 500,000 MWh.

This project, scheduled for completion in the first half of 2024, is projected to bring more than $45m in revenue to Wharton County over its lifespan, along with the creation of more than 250 jobs during construction.

In addition, WestRock will contract 75 MW from ENGIE’s 350 MW Chillingham Solar project. Apart from contributing to the US energy grid, Chillingham Solar is poised to generate an estimated $70m in revenue over its lifespan, with $53m directly benefiting local school districts. WestRock’s share of Chillingham is expected to be around 200,000 MWh per year.

ENGIE’s ongoing commitment to renewable innovation

ENGIE’s innovative strides in renewables have positioned the company as a top developer in selling corporate energy power purchase agreements (PPAs).

BloombergNEF’s latest Market Outlook report recognises ENGIE for its consistent ranking in the top three since 2019. ENGIE’s corporate PPA portfolio in the US now exceeds 7 GW, reinforcing its dedication to advancing the energy transition.

According to John Powers, vice-president of global renewable energy and carbon advisory at Schneider Electric, partnerships such as WestRock and ENGIE’s contribute not only to clean energy on the grid but also foster economic development, create job opportunities and underscore a commitment to sustainable solutions within local communities.