The announcement was made at the Walmart Green Business Summit in Vancouver, a high-profile event which brought together more than 300 of Canada’s largest corporations, NGOs, academics and government leaders to share the business case for sustainability.
Under the proposed projects, Walmart Canada will finance and own the solar energy and wind turbine systems. Power generated will be returned to the electrical grid under Ontario’s feed-in tariff program for renewable energy. The company will use these pilot projects to assess the effectiveness and potential benefits of these systems to potentially power some of its stores in the future.
Walmart Canada is already one of Canada’s largest purchasers of renewable energy through Bullfrog Power.
"We’re looking at our business through the lens of sustainability," said Ken Farrell, Vice President of Store Development for Walmart Canada. "These wind and solar pilot projects will enable us to invest in the commercialization of renewable energy, in addition to our own purchasing of green power."
Once complete, the rooftop solar power-generating system is expected to generate 450,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year, enough to supply 39 average size Canadian households. The solar system will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by an estimated 80 tonnes per year.
Walmart Canada plans to install a 20-kilowatt wind turbine adjacent to one of its Ontario stores. The system is expected to generate as much as 50,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, enough power four average size Canadian households. The wind turbine has been designed for low wind speed areas, where wind power has not been previously practical, and can operate in wind speeds as low as 10 kilometres per hour.
Construction dates are subject to receiving the appropriate permits and approvals in the respective municipalities chosen.
"By implementing energy-saving strategies and using innovative clean energy technologies, Walmart Canada is building stores now that are 30 per cent more efficient than previous ones," added Farrell. "We’ve said we’re determined to build the greenest stores on the block and we’re taking further steps every day towards this goal."
Walmart Canada is testing many energy-efficient operations and renewable energy technologies in its stores and distribution centres. The company is currently testing geothermal technology at its Burlington, Ontario environmental demonstration store.
Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Walmart Canada operates 317 retail outlets nationwide and serves more than one million customers daily. The company’s vision is to demonstrate environmental leadership by reducing the ecological impact of its operations through company-wide programs focused on waste, energy and products, as well as outreach programs that preserve and enhance local environments. Walmart’s global goal is to generate zero waste, to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy and to sell products that sustain people and the environment.