EnergyWatch

McDonald's takes a bite of the Texan sun and wind

The burger giant buys 380 MW of Texan sun and wind power in a virtual PPA – enough energy to power 2,500 restaurants.

Photo: KENA BETANCUR/AFP / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

The golden arches have gained a green veneer, as McDonald's has signed power purchase agreements for 380MW.

220 MW of the power will come from the Texan wind farm Aviator Wind, which has a capacity of 535 MW, and also provides power to Facebook, who signed a PPA for 200 MW back at the start of September.

The remaining 160 MW will come from an unnamed solar farm, also in Texas.

This deal is a so-called 'synthetic PPA', where the power is generated somewhere else, but still counts when it comes to McDonald's CO2 emmisions.

Traditionally, energy intensive workplaces have led the way with PPAs.

In the USA and Europe, it has primarily been tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, who need power to run their energy-hungry data centers, who have signed PPAs – or heavy industry companies such as aluminum manufacturer Norsk Hydro, which broke the record for the longest-lasting PPA ever last year when it signed a 29-year long deal.

European role model

McDonald's has not revealed the length of the PPA agreements it have signed. According to Francesca DeBiase, head of supply and sustainability, it was experiences with renewable energy in Europe that convinced McDonald's to get into PPAs in the USA.

"These American wind and solar farms are a significant step forward in our work to address climate change and build on several years of experience in using renewable energy in the European markets," she says in a press release.

Although McDonald's is not an energy intensive company, the 380 MW are more of a happy meal than a supersize. The renewable energy is expected to equal the consumption of 2,500 restaurants. This is just over a sixth of the chain's 14,000 restaurants in the USA.

English Edit: Catherine Brett

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