Walmart Unveils Industrial Wind Turbine at California DC
August 16, 2012
Walmart has veiled its first on-site large-scale wind turbine pilot project at its distribution center in Red Bluff, Calif. The wind turbine, expected to be operational by this fall, will provide approximately one megawatt of power, or 15 to 20 percent, of the distribution center’s annual electrical use.
Standing 265 feet tall and spanning 250 feet in diameter, the wind turbine is approximately equal to the height of a 20-story building. The GE SLE 1.0 Megawatt Wind Turbine is projected to produce approximately 2,200,000 kilowatt hours annually. Over the term of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the project will contribute to energy expense savings as well as provide price certainty for the electricity produced. Under a PPA arrangement, Foundation Windpower installs, owns, and operates the wind turbine and Walmart purchases the power produced under a long-term contract.
“We are using every tool in the tool box as we work toward our goal to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, and wind energy is an attractive technology for Walmart,” said Greg Pool, senior manager of renewable energy and emissions at Walmart 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, Walmart will evaluate the potential for large-scale turbine installations at other distribution center sites in the United States.”
The wind turbine in Red Bluff joins 180 other renewable energy projects Walmart has in operation, including a 90-megawatt wind farm in West Texas, which provides 15 percent of power for over 300 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs; 348 stores in Mexico supplied by wind power, providing 17percent of the stores’ energy needs; fourteen stores in Northern Ireland supplied by wind power providing 100 percent of the electricity needs for those stores; 12 mini wind turbines power a Walmart store in Worchester, Mass., and 27 stores will have solar panel installations by 2014; 26 fuel cell sites in California supplying energy to local Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs; and more than 140 solar installations across six states.
Foundation Windpower develops, finances, constructs, owns, and operates utility-scale distributed wind projects on-site at large energy consumers. Customers include food processors, manufacturers, refrigerated warehouses, cement plants, mines, data centers, and water treatment plants.
GRD Views: We think Distribution Center based renewable energy projects are a substantial opportunity in the retail industry. – John Failla for Green Retail Decisions
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