McDonald’s in green move with supersize US wind and solar deal

Burger giant McDonald’s has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for enough wind and solar power to run 2,500 of its restaurants, in the latest major entry to the US corporate renewable energy segment.

The fast-food chain’s PPA for output from the Aviator Wind West wind farm in Texas sees it joining Facebook, which has already signed up for a big chunk of the renewable electricity from the 525MW project that is among America’s largest.

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McDonald’s will also take power from an unnamed solar project, also in Texas, in a total 380MW deal that shows the traction renewable PPAs are gaining in the US, and globally.

The McDonald’s deal is a ‘virtual’ PPA, where the power is generated elsewhere but counts towards the buyer’s own decarbonisation goals.

McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer Francesca DeBiase said: “These US wind and solar projects represent a significant step in our work to address climate change, building on years of renewable energy sourcing in many of our European markets.”

The virtual PPA for output from Aviator Wind West, negotiated by Ares Management and the project’s developer, Apex Clean Energy, represents the first wind energy contract signed by McDonald’s.

Mark Goodwin, CEO of Apex Clean Energy, said McDonald’s is “developing a clear science-based target for reducing carbon emissions and working to achieve that target through such a significant renewable energy purchase at Aviator Wind West”.

Led by technology groups such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, corporate renewable PPAs have become increasingly common in the US and, to a lesser extent, Europe.

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