Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., announced a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for wind energy. Through this and other initiatives, the company will be supplied by almost 50% renewable wind power and will reduce approximately 197,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“As a leading corporate citizen in our industry, we are inspired by projects that minimize environmental impacts and align with the interests of our customers and consumers around the world,” says Tom Raymond, director of environmental sustainability. “This agreement supports our company’s environmental sustainability goals and is a testament to our commitment and support of renewable energy.”

The new wind farm will be located near Milligan, Neb. Construction is expected to be completed in 2020. The farm will be capable of 74 MW of power and an estimated 349,000 MWh of electricity each year. Hormel Foods partnered with Kinect Energy Group, Plymouth, Minn., to assess the project and negotiate the agreement.

“We were excited to partner with Hormel Foods to help them meet their renewable energy and sustainability goals,” says Nicholas Franco, director of sustainability services at Kinect Energy Group. “We were able to leverage our deep electric market experience to assess the project economics and negotiate a VPPA agreement that worked perfectly for Hormel Foods.”

Hormel Foods also subscribes to community solar gardens at five manufacturing locations, including a co-sponsorship with Westar Energy, Kansas City, Mo., for its first community solar garden near Wichita, Kan., where the company manufactures most of its Hormel Natural Choice bacon products.

“The addition of renewable energy helps to clean the electrical grid and drive sustainable food production,” says Coulter Wood, energy manager at Hormel Foods. “We will look to lead the way in renewable energy acquisition, as we continue to feed the world’s growing population in a sustainable manner.”