Whole Foods has its fingers in more pies than the health care reform fray. The organic retail giant has bought 776 million-kilowatt-hours of renewable energy credits from wind farms, offsetting all the company’s electricity at its locations in North America.
The wind power purchase will help avoid up to 868 million pounds of carbon dioxide pollution, equivalent to taking 72,000 cars off the roads for one year.
Nearly 90 percent of the company’s REC purchase is helping fund the Panther Creek Wind Farm in Big Spring, Tex., according to an article in the Austin Business Journal. The E.ON Climate & Renewables farm is one of the ten largest in the United States, boasting 305 wind turbines that can generate enough power for more than 130,000 Texan homes.
The recent emissions offset may have bought the company some good press with CEO John Mackey on the chopping block for an op-ed he wrote criticizing the president’s health care reform plan, but Whole Foods isn’t new to the renewable energy scene.
It became the first Fortune 500 company to offset 100 percent of its electricity use in 2006 with RECs from wind farms provided by Renewable Choice Energy. Future plans include tripling the number of stores with solar panels, investing in energy-reduction technology and renovating existing stores with energy-efficient lighting and equipment.