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360 Wind Powered Wal-Mart Stores by April 2009

While the solar panel in this photo is pretty much a token renewable energy gesture, Wal-Mart’s wind power commitment is significantly more substantial.

Say what you like about Wal-Mart (and I certainly have said some less than flattering things), but sometimes the world’s largest retailer does something undeniably positive: Like make its first major purchase of wind power in the United States.

Announced yesterday, Wal-Mart Stores will be supplying 15% of the electricity in approximately 360 Texas stores and other facilities though wind power, purchased from Duke Energy. Wal-Mart says that the purchase will be the equivalent power of some 18,000 ordinary homes. Here are the rest of the details:

150 MW Wind Farm Will Provide Wal-Mart's Power
Duke will be generating the power from the under construction 150 MW Notrees Wind Power Project, which is expected to begin commercial operations in December and producing electricity for Wal-Mart by April 2009. Duke expects the project to produce about 226 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, an amount which will avoid emitting 139,000 tonnes of CO2. Or, if you prefer more down to earth references, Wal-Mart compares this to washing 108 million loads of laundry (“enough for every household in Austin, Texas to do laundry for a year”).

Speaking about the wind power purchase, Wal-Mart vice president of energy Kim Saylors-Laster said,

We’re purchasing renewable power at traditional energy rates. The wind power purchase will result in a significant decrease of greenhouse gas emissions and aligns perfectly with Wal-Mart’s long-term goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy.

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