Sainsbury’s has opened a new onshore wind farm that is expected to provide up to a third of the supermarket’s energy needs over the next 15 years.
The supermarket has agreed to purchase 100% of the power generated by the new farm, at Longhill Burn in West Lothian, as part of a deal first signed with investment manager Capital Dynamics in 2021.
Construction at the site was officially completed by farm operator EnergieKontor AG last week. When its eight turbines are fully operational it is expected to produce up to 150,000 MWh of electricity each year. It’s the equivalent of more than 2.8 million standard LED lightbulbs being powered continuously – some 33% of Sainsbury’s entire energy use across its footprint.
“We’re very proud to be investing in this state-of-the-art, sustainable source of new wind power, featuring the largest, most cutting-edge onshore turbines available in the UK,” said Sainsbury’s director of property, procurement and EV ventures Patrick Dunne.
“Now it’s completed, Longhill Burn wind farm can begin to realise its full potential, helping us take another massive step towards reducing our reliance on carbon.”
The supermarket said it would invest “millions” in securing the energy produced by the farm over the next 15 years, through the partnership with Capital Dynamics. Under the partnership, EnergieKontor will continue to operate and maintain the site.
The project is the seventh wind farm from which Sainsbury’s buys 100% of the energy generated. An eighth site is currently in development and set to go live next year.
“Sainsbury’s was the first UK retailer to start directly purchasing wind power for use in its estate back in 2008,” said Dunne. “Our commitment to the future of Longhill Burn wind farm, which both enabled its construction and guaranteed its long-term viability, builds on our proven track record of investing in sustainable technologies.”
It marks a ”major boost” in Sainsbury’s aim to reach net zero across its operations by 2035, the supermarket said. It follows the opening of what the retailer claimed was its “most energy-efficient supermarket ever” in Hook, Hampshire in May this year.
That followed the launch of the retailer’s first fully electrified fleet of store delivery vehicles at its Nine Elms superstore in London during the same month.