Welcome to Day 2 of #AmericanWindWeek! Today we’re focusing on the ways wind powers opportunity in our everyday lives—the products and services we use and the stores we visit are increasingly powered by wind energy.
A lot of times, we don’t even think about all the ways electricity touches our lives. When we flip the switch, we expect the lights to turn on and we want our electricity to be affordable. Businesses are no different. That’s why more and more of them are choosing to buy wind power.
American businesses are buying wind at a record rate because it provides them with reliable, low-cost energy that comes at a stable, fixed price. In many parts of the country, wind is now the cheapest source of new electricity, and corporate leaders are taking notice.
“For us, [access to wind energy is] kind of a gate. If we couldn’t do that, we would not be here,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.v “To Iowa’s credit, Iowa saw this and had the vision to work with the utilities and so forth so it could happen. I think that says a lot about the people here and how they work together.”
Wind also protects companies from spikes in commodity prices, allowing them to better plan for the future. Businesses want to know what the energy costs will be in five, 10 or 15 years, and wind’s fixed costs aid that long-term planning. Plus wind helps companies achieve sustainability goals and meet customer expectations, as more consumers are demanding brands make the transition to renewables.
“When looking at wind deals, cost savings are one attribute I can bring up when I talk to our finance and accounting department,” said Rob Threlkeld, General Manager of Renewable Energy at General Motors. “Have you ever seen your electric bill go down for multiple years at a time?”
That’s why 2018 was a record year for commercial and industrial (C&I) purchases of wind. Last year alone, 37 corporations, including 21 first-time buyers, signed longer term wind energy contracts totaling more than 4,203 megawatts (MW). That represents 66 percent growth over the previous 2015 record.
Already in 2019, long-term contract volume for wind energy capacity is up 10 percent over the first half of last year.
Universally recognized companies like Google, AT&T, and General Motors are choosing wind to power their operations. Last year, a mix of repeat buyers like Facebook, Walmart, and Microsoft along with first-time buyers like AT&T, Shell Energy, Boston University and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines secured long-term contracts for wind power. Many companies like Target and Walmart are upping their buys this year.
Wind energy is used to make and power many of the products we use every day. So next time you are grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, picking up home improvement supplies at the Home Depot, or enjoying a Budweiser with friends, there is an increasingly likely chance that wind power is making that all possible.