Walmart suppliers team up to purchase renewable energy


Walmart suppliers team up to purchase renewable energy


Five Walmart suppliers joined forces to buy renewable energy from a Kansas wind farm, as part of the retailer’s plan to reduce 1 billion metric tons worth of emissions across its supply chain by 2030.

The 12-year power purchase agreement is the first under Walmart and Schneider Electric’s renewable energy acceleration for suppliers, officially known as Gigaton PPA.

The transaction covers an annual purchase of about 250,000 megawatt-hours of power from the Ørsted Sunflower Wind Farm scheduling to come online this year in Marion County, Kansas. The buyers include Amy’s Kitchen, Great Lakes Cheese, Levi Strauss & Co., The J.M. Smucker Co. and Valvoline. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Walmart’s Gigaton PPA initiative, announced in early 2020, allows its suppliers to team up on a PPA so they can split the costs and the renewable energy generated. It also aims to help reduce or avoid 1 billion metric tons within Walmart’s value chain by 2030.

Last month, Walmart announced that the roughly 4,500 suppliers who joined the program are more than halfway toward that goal.

"It was very timely for a lot of suppliers," said Zach Freeze, senior director of strategic initiatives, sustainability, at Walmart. "They were interested in getting into this world, and they didn’t know how."

So far, aggregated PPA deals have been few and far between, but Freeze said that Walmart’s suppliers have shown great interest in participating — even amid the market uncertainty and "unstable" environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, supply chain disruptions, grid interconnection delays and shifting tariffs on equipment.

Walmart didn’t play a role in the contract nor is it offering any special incentives to the companies that ultimately signed on, according to Freeze. However, that doesn’t preclude the retailer from being involved in future deals, he said.

A second cohort of companies is already standing by to work on the next Gigaton PPA transaction, according to Freeze. While the deal is under way, no timeline has been disclosed.

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