Wal-Mart taps wind energy in California

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 79 views 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. unveiled its first onsite large-scale wind turbine pilot project at its distribution center in Red Bluff, Calif. on Tuesday (Aug. 7). The wind turbine, expected to be operational by this fall, will provide roughly one megawatt of power or 15 to 20% of the distribution center’s yearly electrical use.

The new wind turbine features a tower height (265 feet) and a blade diameter (250 feet) approximately equal to the height of a 20-story building.

The turbine is projected to produce approximately 2.2 million kilowatt hours annually. Over the term of the power purchase agreement the project will contribute to energy expense savings as well as provide price certainty for the electricity produced.

Under the agreement, Foundation Windpower installs, owns, and operates the wind turbine and Wal-Mart purchases the power produced.

“We are using every tool in the tool box as we work toward our goal to be supplied by 100% renewable energy, and wind energy is an attractive technology for Wal-Mart,” said Greg Pool, Wal-Mart’s senior manager of renewable energy and emissions and project manager of the Red Bluff installation.

“We found the perfect environment for an installation with the Red Bluff project – good wind conditions and open land that we own. As a result, we expect to reduce our energy costs from the day we flip the on switch. Should the technology at Red Bluff prove successful, Wal-Mart will evaluate the potential for large-scale turbine installations at other distribution center sites in the United States,” Pool noted in the release.

The wind turbine in Red Bluff joins 180 renewable energy projects in operation by the retail giant.

Matt Wilson, CEO of Foundation Windpower, said his firm developed, financed and constructed this project with Wal-Mart “whose leadership and strategic commitment to sustainable, energy efficient operations have improved this distribution facility’s economic competitiveness and environmental impact.”