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Wal-Mart in first wind-power contract  

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores has made its first wind-power purchase, one that will provide electricity to some 360 Texas stores starting in April 2009.

The renewable energy will come from a Duke Energy wind farm under construction in Notrees, Texas, said Wal-Mart, and is expected to provide up to 15% of the retailer’s total energy load for the stores and other facilities in the region.

“We’re purchasing renewable power at traditional energy rates,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vp of energy for Wal-Mart. “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% renewable energy.”

Here are a few quantitative elements of the project, according to Wal-Mart and its consultant, World Resources Institute. It will provide about 226 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable power each year, or the energy equivalent of washing 108 million loads of laundry -- enough for every household in Austin, Texas to do laundry for a year. By purchasing this amount of clean-source electricity, Wal-Mart will avoid producing more than 139,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year --equal to taking 25,000 cars off the road or eliminating the CO2 produced by 18,000 homes annually.

The wind purchase is another example of Wal-Mart’s ongoing commitment to become a more sustainable company and serves as a complement to its solar project announced last year. In May 2007, Wal-Mart announced it would equip up to 22 locations in Hawaii and California with solar panels.

Elsewhere, Wal-Mart estimates its first solar powered stores, at about 20 locations in Hawaii and California, are helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 10,000 metric tons per year.