Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has signed an agreement with Southern Power, a U.S. wholesale energy provider and subsidiary of Southern Company, for Southern Power’s 200-megawatt (MW) Reading Wind Facility.
This initiative, which will offset up to 12 percent of Royal Caribbean’s emissions beginning in 2020, is the latest addition to the company’s sustainability efforts, which include programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at sea and in port.
The project, Southern Power’s eleventh wind facility, is located in Osage and Lyon Counties, Kansas, and is 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. Royal Caribbean was advised on the execution of this agreement by Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services.
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 innovative program, Royal Caribbean is able to apply a new approach while continuing its primary initiatives to advance sustainability efforts across the company’s fleet.
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.
Royal Caribbean has a longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship which the company expanded in 2016 to set goals to reduce the company’s environmental footprint. In addition to the agreement with Southern Power, Royal Caribbean 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 percent 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, soon
- Onboard the 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
Royal Caribbean also encourages guests to make a positive impact on the environment through “Save The Waves” - its onboard stewardship program focused on reducing waste; reusing and recycling; and properly disposing of remaining waste.