McDonald’s in three new renewable energy VPPAs


McDonald’s has completed three new virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) as it’s continuing its commitment to take climate action through an increased investment in renewable energy generation.

In 2019, McDonald’s USA signed two long-term VPPA transactions, one wind and one solar, located in Texas. Now, with the addition of three more deals, McDonald’s is positioned to add more renewable energy to the nation’s power supply than most U.S. corporations to date.

The three new projects, two wind farms and one portfolio of solar projects, are slated to be built in Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Ohio.

“The COVID 19 pandemic has intensified McDonald’s focus on strengthening the resilience of our communities and the planet. As one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen climate resiliency with our network of franchisees and supplier partners.

“The impacts of these U.S.-based VPPA deals for renewable energy represent significant milestones toward our science based target for 2030, and serve as meaningful examples of the solutions we are employing throughout our system to drive climate action and add more renewable energy to the grid.”

Jenny McColloch, vice president, Sustainability.

“The addition of these VPPA transactions demonstrates McDonald’s continued leadership in the renewable energy space, as well as their commitment to supporting local communities where they serve.

“These projects will not only provide more U.S. communities greater access to clean energy, but they will also stimulate local economies through job creation. As one of the nation’s leading corporate buyers of renewable energy in 2020, McDonald’s level of investment in clean energy serves as an inspiration to the entire REBA community.”

Miranda Ballentine, CEO, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA).

Combined, McDonald’s share of the five wind and solar projects will have a total capacity of 1130 megawatts. That’s enough to power about 8,000 McDonald’s restaurants. The solar panels alone would cover the surface area of New York’s Central Park seven times.

McDonald’s share of the projects will help prevent about 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases per year once online. That’s equivalent to planting 40 million trees or taking 500,000 cars off the road for one year.

“The impressive volume of renewable energy deals McDonald’s has committed to – despite the challenges COVID-19 has placed on many organizations – further elevates McDonald’s as a leader within the industry.

“In a year like 2020, with so many other crises at the fore, McDonald’s has remained strikingly steadfast in its commitment to climate action.”

Tim Juliani, director, Corporate Climate Engagement, World Wildlife Fund.

McDonald’s will continue to address climate change and this global health crisis, as trying as it is, is an important reminder for companies like this to keep a long-term mindset.

Anela Dokso

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