Powering the Life Science Industry With Renewable Energy
Chris Famolare, global head of sustainable operations for the Life Science business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Sustainable practices—reducing greenhouse gas emissions, lowering resource and water consumption, and improving waste management practices—can help a company positively address its environmental impact. However, targeting renewable energy through a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) can significantly reduce a company’s carbon footprint across its operations while enabling and supporting the renewable energy industry for a greener future.
Demonstrating the environmental impact of a VPPA, MilliporeSigma, the U.S. and Canada Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has matched 100% of its U.S. electricity consumption with renewable energy by participating in one of the largest buyer-organized aggregation deals in the world: a 12-year, off-site, VPPA with Enel Green Power. Included in this aggregation was MilliporeSigma, Uber, Akamai, and Synopsis, which together contracted for 111 MW of the 350 MW project.
Virtual Power Purchase Agreement Aligns with the Company’s Sustainability Strategy
The Life Science business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is a global organization with more than 300,000 high-quality products and 26,000 employees across more than 66 countries. The company understands how important it is to manage its environmental impact, work toward its greenhouse gas reduction targets, and sustain those gains for years to come. One component of our sustainability strategy is to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and source 80% of our electricity from renewable options by 2030. Furthermore, we aim to achieve climate neutrality by 2040 across Scope 1, 2 and 3. This VPPA, now operational, directly contributes to the company’s renewable electricity goal.
Tackling Global Challenges
We are making a concerted effort to bring new renewable energy to the grid with long-term contracts, a key component of our renewable energy strategy. By seeking new projects, MilliporeSigma is playing an active role in increasing the amount of renewable energy on the grid, as opposed to relying solely on pre-constructed assets to supply the company with renewable energy.
This enables MilliporeSigma to match the operations of our U.S. manufacturing, distribution, and services sites with renewable electricity—providing customers with greener products and solutions that align with and help advance their own sustainability goals and values.
The Future of Virtual Power Purchase Agreements
While VPPAs have been around for many years, they have increased in popularity recently as aggregated deals become more widely available. Just a few years ago, VPPAs were only accessible to massive energy consumers. Now, aggregated deals allow companies with small and mid-size electricity loads to engage in a VPPA and unlock new ways to support and advance the renewable energy industry.
As companies investigate renewable energy, it is important for each company to determine the best option for their needs as there are several ways to secure renewable energy.
An options assessment can include:
- Determining what kind of renewable energy claims your company wants to make
- Understanding your energy consumption and its associated emissions by region and location to identify high-priority areas
- Understanding regulations that exist in your area
- Determining what local options may be available and comparing those options with a power purchase agreement, VPPA or other agreements
- Defining your strategy and approach and making sure they align with your business objectives and risk appetite.
When done correctly—and following thorough research—companies engaging in a VPPA can look forward to more sustainable operations by reducing their carbon footprint, all while supporting the renewable energy industry for years to come.