Starbucks is one of the homegrown companies in the United States that has invested heavily in renewable energy to cut down its overhead and do its part for the environment. It’s a policy that is worthy of being emulated by other firms in pursuit of their green corporate values.
At the core of its renewable energy plans is the goal to harness solar power to fulfill the energy demands of 3,000 Starbucks stores in the United States by 2021. The company expanded its portfolio into the energy sector by purchasing LevelTenEnergy. And it has several significant projects to date, located in North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, and Oklahoma.
For instance, 340 Starbucks stores in Illinois are already 100% powered by wind power, thanks to its investment in renewable energy programs.
The company is also funding three more projects:
- Wind power harnessed by Allete Clean Energy in Maxton, North Carolina (50 megawatts)
- Solar Power harnessed by Cypress Creek Renewables in Texas (50 megawatts)
- Solar Power harnessed by BayWa project in Oklahoma (46 megawatts)
The three projects will provide the Seattle-based company with 146 mW of solar and wind energy to power its stores.
In April last year, Starbucks unveiled its renewable energy plans in Texas. For the project, the company partnered with US Bank and Cypress Creek Renewables to develop two solar farms. The clean energy generated by the project is projected to power 360 stores in Dallas, Houston, Plano, Fort Worth, and Arlington.
What most people do not know is that Texas has the ideal conditions to harness both solar and wind energy. A 2018 study concluded that the Lone Star State has one of the highest solar and wind compatibility compared to other areas.
For example, solar energy is generated at its peak during the daytime while wind power is at its strongest during the nighttime. The only problem in Texas, is that the wind farms are located on the eastern coast–too far away from big cities like Houston and Dallas.
The top-down approach by the state’s grid operator, ERCOT, might not be sustainable in the long run. As such, it needs to invest in renewable energy (RE) to augment power generation. For now, however, the state still has one of the cheapest power rates in the country.
Texas can benefit by showcasing the clean energy investment by Starbucks. The company has pledged to support 10,000 “green” stores by 2025. In recent years, it has invested a total of $140 million for its green energy initiatives. But the program is not limited in the United States and Canada. More than 60% of its stores across the globe are powered by RE. This is not merely a PR move to win over the millennials, who care more about the environment than previous generations. According to this Gallup poll, millennials are more likely to support companies with green policies. And their spending power is substantial, with over $1 trillion of potential consumer spending.
The other reason that other companies should follow Starbucks’ renewable energy plans is the potential savings. By going green, the coffee retail chain expects to save about $50 million over the next ten years.
Starbucks knows full well that building solar and wind farms is not only environmentally sustainable, but also enables them to cut their operating costs.