GSK a step closer to becoming energy provider

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has cleared an early hurdle in its drive to escape the strain of constantly rising energy prices by becoming an energy provider itself. The pharma giant has won a tidal energy contract from the Crown Estate, which owns seabed rights in U.K. territorial waters.

According to the report, GSK's proposal involves the installation of 15 tidal turbines in waters that run between Montrose Basin and the North Sea. The contract gives GSK permission to use part of the riverbed for the project, reports Montrose Review. In addition, it puts the drugmaker on course to meet its objective of generating green energy for its Montrose manufacturing plant.

CEO Andrew Witty (photo) has linked off-grid power generation and environmental sustainability with manufacturing cost management. In September, he told The Irish Times he expects the GSK energy bill to rise between 20% and 30% next year. "If energy is going to go up 30% every year, then forget it, we're out of the game."

Witty has also noted the narrowing cost differential between manufacturing in the U.K. and India. He acted on it by moving biomanufacturing operations from India to Montrose after the site team achieved cost and process-efficiency improvements great enough to forestall a likely plant closure.

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