Kimberly-Clark opens new onshore wind farm to power UK manufacturing sites

Global manufacturer Kimberly-Clark has confirmed the opening of a new £75m onshore wind farm in Scotland, which will supply clean energy for around 80% of the company’s electricity needs in the UK.

Kimberly-Clark opens new onshore wind farm to power UK manufacturing sites

Cumberhead Wind Farm. Image: Kimberly-Clark/Smokescreen Visuals

Kimberly-Clark, which owns household brands Andrex, Kleenex and Huggies, has agreed to a Power Purchase Agreement with Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust (ORIT), to procure wind power from the new project.

The £75m onshore windfarm in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, is ORIT’s largest wind asset and was opened by Màiri McAllan, Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Clydesdale constituency and Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition.

The 50 MW 12-turbine Cumberhead facility will supply Kimberly-Clark with approximately 160,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy every year. This will deliver an emissions reduction of 55,625 MTCO2e per year – the equivalent of taking 38,628 passenger vehicles off the road every year.

Kimberly-Clark’s managing director Dan Howell said: “Energy transformation is a key priority for us if we are going to deliver on our ambition to be using 100% renewable energy by 2030 in the UK and Ireland. When people ask what ‘fully decarbonising our operations’ looks like in practice, showing them a brand new 12-turbine wind farm is a pretty powerful answer.”

Wind power will account for around 80% of Kimberly-Clark’s electricity needs across its Barrow, Flint and Northfleet manufacturing facilities. These facilities produce around one billion Andrex toilet rolls, more than 150,000,000 Kleenex tissue boxes and around 136 million packs of Huggies baby wipes annually.

Kimberly-Clark has pledged to halve its direct, power-related and supply chain emissions by 2030, as part of climate targets approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

By 2026, Kimberly-Clark UK and Ireland is aiming to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 85% from a 2015 baseline and will transition to 100% renewables by 2030.

To achieve these goals, the company is also developing onsite solar solutions and investing in green hydrogen.

Kimberly-Clark expects the wind farm that will serve its first UK-based green hydrogen project to come online by the end of the year.

Led by Carlton Power, the project is seeking to co-locate 35MW of electrolyser facilities and a 40MW energy storage system at the Cumberhead West Wind Farm. The 126MW wind farm is currently under construction and completion is expected later this year. Green hydrogen production should then be able to commence in 2025.

Kimberly-Clark is planning to offtake green hydrogen from the project to serve its paper mill in Cumbria, replacing natural gas.

Two other green hydrogen projects are planned for Northfleet, Kent, and Flint, North Wales. Both of these projects are being led by HYRO, a joint venture between RES and Octopus Energy’s generation arm. HYRO’s long-term vision is to invest £3bn green hydrogen in the UK.

The two electrolyser projects will have a combined capacity of 22.5MW. As with the project in Cumbria, they will use renewable electricity to electrolyse water, thus producing green hydrogen.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie