Unveiled at Walmart’s Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, the company committed to achieving the following by Dec. 31, 2020:
1) Drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy globally every year, a 600 percent increase over 2010 levels;
2) Reduce the kWh per square foot energy intensity required to power Walmart’s buildings globally by 20 percent compared to 2010 levels.
Walmart’s six-fold increase in renewable energy projects is expected to be equal to eliminating the need for roughly two US 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.
The new commitments will also avoid 9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road, in effect halting the growth of GHG emissions from the company’s largest GHG source – energy used to power buildings – by 2020. For the first time, the company is projecting this GHG decrease even with significant anticipated growth in stores and sales.
According to Walmart, today, over the term of its power purchase agreements (PPAs), the renewable energy it buys either meets or beats 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 today.
In the US, 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 in the US currently.
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.
In order to meet its energy efficiency goal between now and 2020, Walmart projects 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 sophisticated energy/building control systems.
These new commitments reinforce the sustainability goals Walmart established in 2005: to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy; to create zero waste; and to sell products that sustain people and the environment.