New renewable energy partnerships launched, over 1,600 jobs created, STEM education plans to prepare the energy workforce of the future: explore North America’s significant contribution to the energy transition and to reaching our capacity target.
There has been a barrage of projects fostering sustainable energy development in North America, including research grants to study renewables, collaborating with commercial partners to progress towards decarbonization and the launch of milestone projects in the field of renewables.
Last year, initial construction of new plants in the United States gave a decisive boost to the energy revolution, as demonstrated by Enel Green Power’s new renewable generated capacity record. Our long list of projects is helping us accomplish the Sustainable Development goals we should meet by 2030.
Texas is a beacon for the energy transition
In 2019, the United States, and Texas in particular, took center stage in the energy transition, launching two of the nation’s largest renewables plants: the first 450 MW of the 500 MW High Lonesome wind farm and the first phase (252 MW) of the 497 MW Roadrunner solar park.
Along with the 66 MW Whitney Hill wind farm in Illinois, these plants helped us add nearly 800 MW of capacity to the grid last year, raising EGP’s renewable generated capacity portfolio in the US and Canada to 5.8 GW (managed across more than 100 plants).
High Lonesome, EGP’s largest wind farm, generates around 1.9 TWh of power annually, reducing CO2 emissions by over 1.1 million tons per year. When the Roadrunner project is finished, it will be our biggest solar plant, with 1.2 million solar panels generating 1.2 TWh annually and becoming the largest EGP plantplan in the world using bifacial technology at a large scale.
Together, these two projects will produce enough renewable energy to satisfy the energy needs of over 282,000 families. Moreover, together they will avoid the equivalent CO2 emissions as removing around 465,000 vehicles from circulation.
A growing partner network
The United States has had further success in 2019 with Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and delivering customized renewable energy solutions to corporate partners. These partnerships are enabling sustainability-driven companies to achieve their purchased renewable electricity and carbon reduction goals.
Just last year, EGP entered into four new partnerships. In June, we signed an agreement with Mondelēz International, the food and beverage company present in approximately 150 countries. Enel Green Power is supporting the company’s goal to cut its CO2 emissions in manufacturing by 15% by 2020. By supplying 65 MW from the Roadrunner solar plant, this represents enough clean, renewable energy to produce around 10 billion Oreo cookies!
Continuing to bring renewable energy to the food sector, Enel Green Power also signed a 20.6 MW PPA with Danone North America at the High Lonesome wind farm. We’re supporting their goal to secure 100% of purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2030, supplying them with enough energy to produce almost 800 million yogurt cups and over 80 million gallons of milk annually.
With 70 MW from Roadrunner, we’re also helping The Clorox Company reach their sustainability goals ahead of schedule - representing about half of Clorox's 100% renewable electricity goal in its operations in the U.S. and Canada, our agreement is expected to help the company accelerate achieving its goal in 2021, four years ahead of their original plan.
Last but not least, the Aurora wind farm, currently under construction in North Dakota, will support Gap Inc. with 90 MW of renewable energy. This agreement allows the apparel retailer to meet its renewable energy goal through purchasing the wind energy equivalent to the energy needs of over 1,500 retail stores in its global portfolio.
More jobs thanks to sustainable energy
Renewable energy has proven to be a strong factor in generating employment opportunities. New plants have had a positive effect on local communities, fostering their economic growth by creating new jobs.
Last year, EGP projects were responsible for a total of 1,634 new jobs across 5 US states and Canadian provinces, and 1,300 of those workers were involved in building the High Lonesome wind farm and the Roadrunner solar park.
Our commitment to creating shared value
EGP’s dedication to promoting the development of renewable energy in the U.S. goes beyond building new plants that generate clean energy. In line with our mission to create shared value, we have concentrated our efforts in training future generations, providing educational programs, training workshops and scholarships in six U.S. states and in Canada.
We sponsored the Kansas Energy Program’s KidWind Challenge, an annual event where students put their skills to the test by designing and building a wind turbine. Scholarships were offered in North Dakota to students attending Lake Region State College to study wind farm maintenance. We sponsored renewable energy education programs in Nebraska’s Allen and Wakefield School Districts. We helped establish a 7 KWh solar plant at the Allen school to facilitate mobility for students with special needs. We also offered scholarships to students attending Northeast Community College in Norfolk. In Pincher Creek, Alberta, we are supporting the local Maker Centre, another example of our active partnership in STEM development across both countries.