To offset some of its emissions, Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) has signed an agreement with Southern Power, a US wholesale energy provider, for its new 200 MW Reading Wind facility.
This initiative, which will offset up to 12% of RCCL’s emissions from 2020, is the latest addition to the company’s extensive sustainability efforts, which will also include initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions both at sea and in port.
This project, Southern Power’s 11th wind facility, is located in Osage and Lyon Counties, Kansas, and is the company’s first to be validated as a carbon offset project under the Verified Carbon Standard.
The agreement with RCCL also provides Southern Power with the economic basis to construct the project. RCCL was advised by Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services on the signing of the agreement.
“This agreement complements our long standing strategic initiatives to reduce the company’s emissions and become a more sustainable operator,” said Richard Fain (pictured), RCCL Chairman and CEO. “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 around 760,000 MW hours per year over the duration of the 12-year agreement, which translates to enough clean energy to offset 10-12% of RCCL’s annual carbon emissions starting in 2020.
With this innovative program, RCCL is able to apply a new approach while continuing its primary objectives to advance sustainability efforts across the company’s fleet, the cruise line said.
“Southern Power is thrilled to partner with Royal Caribbean to provide the company with a carbon offset project that will further complement Royal Caribbean’s expansive sustainability initiatives,” said Southern Power President and CEO, Mark Lantrip. “Reading Wind celebrates the first project in our joint development agreement with RES America Developments (RES), qualifying for 100% production tax credits and is an important addition to Southern Power’s portfolio. We’re proud to support Royal Caribbean’s innovative approach toward advancing its sustainability through this project.”
The wind farm 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. It is expected to break ground in the second quarter of 2019 and is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2020. Southern Power will operate and maintain the facility upon its completion.
In addition to the agreement with Southern Power, RCCL is also employing several technologies and innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create more efficient vessels, including:
⦁ Advanced Emission Purification systems, which remove approximately 98% of sulfur dioxide emissions.
⦁ Air lubrication systems to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency.
⦁ Energy management software, an industry first, to achieve top fuel efficiency.
⦁ The introduction of new fuels such as liquefied natural gas, in the near future.
⦁ On board ship – the use of energy-efficient equipment in galleys and the replacement of incandescent bulbs with fluorescent and LED lighting, as well as the introduction of fuel cells.
RCCL is also encouraging guests on board to make a positive impact on the environment through ‘Save the Waves’, its on board stewardship programme focused on reducing waste; reusing and recycling; and properly disposing of remaining waste.