Saving the environment, while making good business decisions.
There are more and more large enterprises making continuous investments in renewable energy. Many of them have set their own renewable energy goals, driven by the realization that renewable energy offers good return on investment and also shows that they strive to be environmentally friendly. So, many of those Fortune 500 companies that claim to invest in renewable energy, do it not only to show their customers that they are concerned about the environment, but also to save money.
Back in 2011, Apple made a commitment to power all of its processes with renewable energy. According to the company, now it powers all of its data centers and 97 percent of its operations with renewable energy. To continue the trend, Apple will build a 17.5MW solar farm at its data center in Maiden, NC. The company already has two 20MW solar farms in NC and is currently building a 17MW project for its data center in Reno, NV.
Moreover, IKEA has set a goal to power 100 percent of its operations with renewable energy by 2020, and has made a series of investments to get closer to its goal. The most recent one is the purchase of a 97MW wind farm in the USA. The farm is expected to generate energy equal to the amount needed by 34,000 households. The Swedish manufacturer has also invested in solar energy and installed 550,000 solar panels in 9 different countries. In the US, IKEA has 165,000 solar panels, which provide 37MW. The company says that as of early 2014 it meets 37 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy sources. It has also allocated $2 billion for additional investment in renewable energy by 2015, aimed at meeting the 2020 goal of receiving all of its energy from renewables.
Wal-Mart is a leader across all companies in terms of solar capacity – 89MW. It has around 240 solar projects already installed. A few years back, Wal-Mart made a commitment to meet 100% of it energy needs and improve its energy efficiency by 20 percent by the end of 2020. According to the company, it meets 37 percent of its energy needs with renewables. Many people argue that the commitment is just a PR trick and it will take Wal-Mart way longer than 2020 to reach those goals, if at all. Whatever the case may be, we cannot argue that Wal- Mart is making serious investments towards becoming a more environmentally conscious organization.
Google is another company which has set a goal to power all of its operations with renewables. It says that right now, renewables account for 37 percent of its energy consumption. So far, it has committed more than $1 billion in expanding its renewable energy portfolio. This includes more than 15 solar and wind projects. Some of the projects also meet residential energy demand. Google has made big steps towards the goal of 100 percent renewably powered operations but it still has a long way to go.
Large enterprises are showing us that renewable energy is not only good for the environment but it also makes financial sense. According to a report, Fortune 500 companies have collectively saved $1.1 billion dollars by incorporating renewable energy sources and have also saved the environment 58.3 tons of carbon emissions.