Retail giant Walmart said it plans to procure about 7 billion kilowatts of electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, or 600 percent over its current use of these energy types by Dec. 31, 2020, according to an announcement made this week by Mike Duke, the company’s president and chief executive officer.
Walmart also plans to reduce the kilowatt-hour per square foot of energy required to power its buildings globally by 20 percent compared to 2010 levels.
“More than ever, we know that our goal to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy is the right goal and that marrying up renewables with energy efficiency is especially powerful,” Duke said in a statement. “The math adds up pretty quickly – when we use less energy that’s less energy we have to buy, and that means less waste and more savings.”
Walmart estimated its six-fold increase in renewable energy projects will be equal to eliminating the need for about two U.S. fossil fuel power plants. Based on external estimates of projected energy costs and other factors, the two new commitments are expected to generate more than $1 billion annually in energy savings once fully implemented.
The company said through this plan it will also avoid 9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road.
Today, via its power purchase agreements (PPAs), the renewable energy Walmart buys either meets or exceeds non-renewable power prices. In 2012 alone, Walmart added nearly 100 renewable energy projects, bringing the total number of projects in operation worldwide to nearly 300.
In the United States alone, Walmart hopes to install solar power on at least 1,000 rooftops and facilities by 2020, a significant increase from just over 200 solar projects in operation or under development currently. In addition to onsite solar, the company will continue to develop projects in wind, fuel cells and other technologies. It will procure offsite renewable energy from utility-scale projects, such as large wind projects, micro-hydro projects and geothermal.
Walmart also expects to increase LED usage in sales floor lighting, parking lots and other applications. Walmart will also focus on "market-relevant scalable technologies," including high efficiency HVAC and refrigeration systems and new energy/building control systems.