Charles River & Duke Energy sign VPPA for 250 MW Solar project in Texas

Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. yesterday announced a long-term solar energy contract to address the entirety of the company’s North American electric power requirements with clean, renewable energy by 2023.

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Charles River and Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions have entered into a 15-year, 102 megawatt (MW) virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA). Charles River’s portion of the 250 MW Pisgah Ridge Solar project, which is located in Navarro County, Texas, will generate approximately 250,000 MW hours (MWh) of clean energy each year, which is the equivalent of avoiding carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of more than 20,000 homes. For Duke, it is the largest single project in the US till date.

Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts.

The Pisgah Ridge Solar project has been developed and is owned by Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. The project is under construction and expected to achieve full commercial operations by year-end 2022, and to begin providing Charles River with the corresponding renewable energy benefits in 2023.

Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions (DESS) is a non-regulated commercial brand of Duke Energy – a Fortune 150 company and one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. – headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.

According to Charles River Laboratories, this VPPA is a significant step forward on the company’s path towards achieving 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030, in cooperation with the RE100. Once the Pisgah Ridge Solar project is online, Charles River will, as per expectations, be supplied by approximately 60% renewable electricity globally. Additionally, the VPPA will support Charles River’s efforts to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius as evidenced by participation in the Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and Business Ambition for 1.5°C.

Charles River has established goals to:

  • Reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of its facilities by 50% by 2030, as compared to Charles River’s baseline in 2018.
  • Reduce absolute Scope 3 (value chain) GHG emissions by 15% by 2030 as compared to Charles River’s baseline in 2019.

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