Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke has announced the company’s next step on the path to achieving its goal of being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy. Unveiled at Walmart’s Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, the company committed to achieving the following by Dec. 31, 2020: drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy globally every year, a 600 percent increase over 2010 levels; and reduce the kWh/sq. ft. energy intensity required to power Walmart’s 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,” said Duke. “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. These new commitments will make us a stronger business, and they’re great for our communities and the environment.”
Walmart’s six-fold increase in renewable energy projects is expected to be equal to eliminating the need for roughly two U.S. fossil fuel power plants. Based on external estimates of projected energy costs and other factors, the two new commitments are anticipated to generate more than $1 billion annually in energy savings once fully implemented. For the first time, the company is projecting this GHG decrease even with significant anticipated growth in stores and sales.
“When I look at the future, energy costs may grow as much as twice as fast as our anticipated store and club growth,” Duke said. “Finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to our every day low cost business model and that makes it important to our customers’ pocketbooks. Our leadership in this area is something our customers can feel good about because the result is a cleaner environment. And savings we can pass on to them.”
In 2012 alone, Walmart added nearly 100 renewable energy projects, bringing the total number of projects in operation worldwide to nearly 300 today. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, it has more solar power capacity and number of systems than any other company in America. Walmart has also been cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as America’s leading user of onsite renewables, using more onsite renewable power than any other company in the U.S. In addition to onsite solar, the company will continue to develop projects in wind, fuel cells and other technologies. It will also procure offsite renewable energy from utility-scale projects, such as large wind projects, micro-hydro projects and geothermal.