Dole Fresh Vegetables, a division of Dole, has announced the implementation and activation of two General Electric 2.8-Megawatt wind turbines at its salad processing plant in Soledad, California.
Each Dole turbine generating power to the facility stands 499 feet tall at maximum height with rotor diameters of 417 feet. Whenever sufficient wind is present to rotate the blades, electrical energy is automatically generated, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. This energy is delivered to the Dole facility’s electrical system with any excess energy generated flowing to the Pacific Gas & Electric grid.
The environmental benefits of the project are expected to be significant, according to forecasts. Pursuant to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, this wind project is estimated to directly reduce CO2 emissions by 14,921 tons per year.
“Representing an important milestone in our sustainability journey, these turbines will have a substantial impact on our operations’ carbon footprint,” said Timothy Escamilla, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables. “They are projected to produce more than 19 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity per year, which will result in a 70 percent offset to our overall energy consumption at this site.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has roughly estimated the positive annual impacts of these turbines to be equivalent to offsetting the electricity use of 2,634 American homes.
Seeking domestically produced renewable energy and reducing the company’s reliance on fossil-fuel power to make a markable positive impact against climate change is in line with the company’s The Dole Way framework. Launched in 2020, the program’s goal is to keep improving opportunities for communities around the world by being an important pioneer of change.
With the facility’s focus on harnessing wind power, Dole will also be contributing to the stability of the local electric grid. Salinas Valley provides a strong, consistent wind during the summer months, and particularly in the evening when the electrical grid is most stressed and utilizes more fossil fuel peaker power plants.
The Dole wind turbines were manufactured by GE and installed by Foundation Windpower, a developer, owner and operator of utility-scale wind projects. The project was facilitated and brought to completion with the help of Ryan Park of Spiral Energy.
“These state-of-the-art Dole turbines represent the seventh Foundation Windpower installation in the Salinas Valley,” said Steve Sherr, executive SVP of business affairs for Foundation Windpower. “We are proud to work with progressive thinking companies like Dole that don’t just talk about reducing hydrocarbon emissions and oil dependence in their operations but take active steps to make it reality.”