Global vacation cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises will soon offset up to 12 per cent of its emissions, after inking a deal with US energy company Southern Power to buy the output of a proposed 200MW wind farm.
The NYSE-listed cruise ship owner and operator, which currently claims around a 22 per cent share of the global ocean-liner market, announced the agreement late last week.
It is – pardon the pun – but a drop in the ocean of the company’s sustainability efforts, as a leader in an industry known for its hefty contribution to air pollution.
According to this Guardian article in 2016, just one of the Royal Caribbean’s ships – albeit, “the world’s largest” ocean liner, the Harmony – has two four-storey high 16-cylinder Wärtsilä engines which, at full power, each burn 1,377 US gallons of fuel an hour, or about 66,000 gallons a day of some of the most polluting diesel fuel in the world.
But the deal has other, broader benefits, including providing Southern Power with the “economic basis” to go ahead with the 200MW Reading Wind Facility, its 11th wind energy project.
The 62-turbine project was originally proposed for construction in Nevada by RES, who will lead the construction alongside Southern Power, using turbines manufactured by Siemens Gamesa.
The wind farm is expected to generate roughly 760,000 megawatt-hours a year over the duration of the 12-year agreement, which translates to enough clean energy to offset 10-12 per cent of Royal Caribbean’s annual carbon emissions starting in 2020.
“This agreement complements our longstanding strategic initiatives to reduce the company’s emissions and become a more sustainable operator,” said Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO, Richard Fain.
“We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our environmental footprint, both in the short and long term, and thanks to our partnership with Southern Power this is the latest step in our journey.”
In addition to the power offtake agreement, Royal Caribbean is also using technologies and innovations to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make its more than 60 vessels more energy efficient.
“Reading Wind celebrates the first project in our joint development agreement with RES America Developments, qualifying for 100 per cent production tax credits and is an important addition to Southern Power’s portfolio,” said Southern Power president and CEO Mark Lantrip.
“We’re proud to support Royal Caribbean’s innovative approach toward advancing its sustainability through this project.”