"Whole Foods Market is working hard to be a leader in environmental stewardship and to make sure that our investment drives new wind power growth for the country. Buying nearly all of our 2009 renewable energy credits from Panther Creek to help bring new power from the wind farm to the grid is a great example of that," said Lee Matecko, Whole Foods Market global vice president of Construction and Store Development. "And as a Texas-based company, it also feels great to support a Texas-based wind farm. We appreciate Renewable Choice Energy for bringing this partnership together."
Continuing its commitment to clean energy, nearly 90 percent of the RECs Whole Foods Market has purchased for 2009 came from a Big Spring, Texas-based wind farm, which is 50 miles east of Midland. The project is built and operated by EC&R North America, a renewable energy developer headquartered in Chicago, with development offices in Austin and Denver. The remaining RECs come from a number of different wind farms in locations across the U.S. and Canada. The total purchase of 776,115,000 kilowatt hours, the largest to date by a U.S. retailer, was made in partnership with Boulder, Colo.-based Renewable Choice Energy.
The Panther Creek wind farm began operating in its first phase in 2008, and its final phase of construction was recently completed. Whole Foods Market’s purchase of RECs from Panther Creek wind farm has provided valuable additional financing to the project to support its 2009 completion.
"Support from companies like Whole Foods Market with partners like Renewable Choice Energy creates a valuable revenue stream for us that helps make new wind farms like Panther Creek possible and wind energy," said Dean Tuel, vice president of Energy Marketing for E.ON Climate & Renewables North America. "EC&R is developing a number of large scale wind projects in the U.S. over the coming years. Extra funding from renewable energy credit sales will play a crucial role in this growth."
Whole Foods Market has been a leading supporter of renewable energy development since 2006, when it became the first Fortune 500 Company to offset 100 percent of its electricity use with RECs from wind farms provided by Renewable Choice Energy. The continued purchase of RECs is part of the Company’s comprehensive energy commitment, which also includes plans to more than triple the number of stores with solar panels and to invest in energy-reduction opportunities while retrofitting existing stores with energy-efficient lighting, equipment and mechanical components.
"The Environmental Protection Agency commends Whole Foods Market for their continued commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing green power," said Kathleen Hogan, director of the Climate Protection Partnerships Division at EPA. "As a partner in EPA’s Green Power Partnership, and by supporting renewable energy, Whole Foods Market is helping to move our nation into a clean energy future."
The 2009 Whole Foods Market wind power purchase will help avoid up to 868 million pounds of carbon dioxide pollution. This has an environmental benefit that’s similar to taking more than 72,000 cars off of the roads for a year, or planting nearly 3.6 million mature trees.
"Our work with Whole Foods Market and E.ON Climate & Renewables North America is an example of how corporate responsibility initiatives are directly driving clean solutions to today’s energy and environmental challenges," said Quayle Hodek, CEO of Renewable Choice Energy. "We’re excited to connect our forward-thinking customers with meaningful renewable energy projects across the country to help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and create a new energy economy in the U.S."
Learn more about environmental initiatives at Whole Foods Market at blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/category/green-action or read more about how RECs work at renewablechoice.com/business-about-renewable-energy.