UPM Shotton, the paper mill owned by Finnish paper and chemical giant UPM, is to meet 100% of its daylight energy demand after being connected to the UK’s largest private wire solar park.
The 50MW AC Shotwick Solar Park was originally commissioned in March this year, but only recently accredited by energy regulator Ofgem.
UPM Shotton has entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with the site’s developers – a joint-venture comprising Chinese energy firm WElink Energy, developers British Solar Renewables, and The Compton Group – under which UPM will purchase its energy directly from the site.
The mill has received a private connection linking it with the project, based less than 2 kilometres away, making it what the project’s developers claim to be the country’s largest private wire solar park.
While UPM Shotton is the site’s principle offtaker, any surplus energy will be sold to global energy firm ENGIE.
Andrew Bronnert, head of pulp and energy at UPM Shotton, said: “We already have a renowned energy policy with integrated assets such our own power plant and connectivity to EirGrid which operates wind farms in the Irish Sea and leases part of the UPM Shotton site.
“This collaboration with WElink Energy, BSR and the Compton Group means we now have one of the most sophisticated energy provisions in manufacturing and adds to our strong environmental credentials which are recognised by the Welsh Government and its sustainability teams.”
PPAs with renewable generators are becoming increasingly common as businesses look to both decarbonise their power supply and hedge against fluctuating energy prices.
Earlier this year Belfast International Airport entered into a similar agreement with solar developers Lightsource for the power from a 5MW solar park.