German Merck Adds Renewable Energy Capacity
In what it calls another major step toward implementing its sustainability strategy, Germany’s Merck has signed a 16-year, off-site, virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Recurrent Energy for its Liberty County Solar project northeast of Houston Texas, in the US.
Combined with the Azure Sky wind and storage project, which went into operation in Texas in May 2022, the Darmstadt-based group said it will be able to cover 90% of the electricity it consumes in the US and 55% of its global consumption with renewables. As it works toward becoming climate-neutral by 2040, it aims to lift the global figure to 80% by 2030.
Already, the Azure project, for which it has a VPPA with Enel Green Power, meets 65% of its total purchased US electricity needs and all of its US life science business's electricity consumption, Merck said.
With these milestones, Kai Beckmann, member of the group’s executive board and CEO Electronics, said Merck will be able to support the fast-growing semiconductor industry with sustainable business practices.
Beyond the Texas solar project, he said the German group is “continuing to actively pursue renewable energy, and not only in the United States.”
With 40 megawatts (MW) of the 100 MW project capacity, Merck is the anchor buyer within the international Net Zero Consortium for Buyers, an aggregation of corporations in the US and Europe organized by the Sustainability Roundtable.
The pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and life science group said the Liberty County Solar project alone, expected to start up in 2024, will cover 25% of its purchased electricity consumption in the US and around 10% globally.
Merck has additionally installed 7,000 solar panels across its Sheboygan, Wisconsin, campus in the US, adding 2.25 megawatts to the grid. Here, it stands to receive 4,000 renewable energy certificates produced by the panels annually, covering 16% of the site’s energy consumption.
With German regional energy utility Entega, it is installing rooftop photovoltaic systems at its Darmstadt headquarters and plans to build a photovoltaic park on around seven hectares in Gernsheim, Germany. Both projects are expected to be completed before the end of 2023, together generating up to 7.6 MW of solar energy annually.
On the road to climate neutrality, Merck said it has committed to lowering its absolute direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and reducing its indirect emissions along the entire value chain (Scope 3) by 52% per euro value-added by 2030. The baseline year is 2020.