WE CREATE OUR OWN ENERGY
Making our products is energy-intensive. Fortunately, we meet 80 percent of our energy needs by using renewable and carbon-neutral biomass fuels such as bark, wood residuals and other organic byproducts of our manufacturing process. Quite simply, we turn our residuals into energy — a double win for our bottom line and the environment.
WE IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY
For the remainder of our energy needs, we purchase electricity and fuel to power our mills. As part of the Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program, we committed to reducing energy intensity at our wood products facilities in the U.S. and at our cellulose fibers facilities in North America by 25 percent between 2009 and 2020. Energy intensity is a measure of energy used for each unit of product produced.
In 2015, with a 25 percent reduction in energy intensity so far, our wood products facilities are on track to meet our 2020 goal. Cellulose fibers facilities increased 2 percent due to lower production levels last year compared to the baseline of 2009 and also an outage at our Flint River facility due to an energy optimization project.
HOW IMPROVEMENT HAPPENS
Some gains are simple, like turning off lights and equipment not in use, while others require capital investments to upgrade to new equipment or modify existing machinery. Our capital improvements need to perform double duty, introducing energy savings but also production efficiencies.
In addition to process changes, sharing of best practices and employees who act as "energy champions" at our sites, some of our recent or planned investments include:
- Adding new continuous-drying kilns, which unlike older batch kilns do not have to be fired up and cooled down.
- Improving systems for concentrating black liquor to burn more efficiently.
- Increased capacity for on-site biomass generation.
- Adding heat-recovery systems to boiler flues to recover more heat energy.
- Upgrading recovery boilers to operate under higher pressures.
- Replacing inefficient steam-powered chillers with more efficient electrical chillers.
- Installing LED lights.
WE PROVIDE GREEN ENERGY
In addition to creating our own energy, we are a supplier of green energy. A few examples:
- Powering Others — We sell some of our biomass-based, renewable energy (in the form of Renewable Energy Credits) back to the market, helping make green energy more accessible to power grids across North America.
- Wind Power — As part of our merger with Plum Creek, our wind lease programs have the potential to provide growing, long-term royalty revenues with minimal impact to ongoing timberland operations. We lease land or grant easements to wind power developers and currently host two operating wind farms, with another two currently under construction. Additionally, another three projects are scheduled to begin construction in 2017, with several other projects in the assessment and wind-resource testing stage. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wind power was the top source for new electric generation capacity in the United States in 2015. Costs of wind-generating equipment and resultant power costs from wind power generation have dropped over the last six years. As a result, electrical power from wind generation is cost-competitive, even with today's low costs of conventional fuels. Interest from developers in new sources of wind power generation on Weyerhaeuser land has been continuous and is increasing.
- Geothermal Exploration — Geothermal energy production utilizes the earth's natural heat for sustainable and renewable power generation. AltaRock Energy and Ormat Technologies continue to explore options for geothermal energy on our land in the states of Oregon and Washington.