How much is 7 billion kilowatt hours anyway?
Since 2005, we’ve been dedicated to achieving 3 sustainability goals. One of those goals is to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. It’s a big undertaking for a company with more than 4,000 Walmart stores in the U.S. alone, not to mention clubs, distribution centers and additional locations around the world. To tackle such an ambitious goal, we’ve made commitments along the way so we can track our progress. For example, we committed to doubling fleet efficiency by 2015, and we’re well on our way to meet our aim. And at the end of last year, we reached a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at our existing stores, clubs and distribution centers around the world by 20 percent – a year ahead of schedule.
So, what’s the next step to help us get to our ultimate goal of 100 percent renewable energy? This year, we announced two new commitments to increase our use of renewables and improve energy efficiency. As part of that, we’ve committed to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy globally by Dec. 31, 2020 – an increase of more than 600 percent from 2010.
It may sound ambitious – and it is – but in case you’re not exactly sure what a kilowatt hour is, the answer is fairly simple: a kilowatt hour describes how many kilowatts of electricity are required to power a product over the course of one hour. Since a kilowatt is 1000 watts, running a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours would equal 1 kWh.
Now multiply that by 7 billion and that’s the amount of renewable energy we’ll be using on an annual basis by 2020. To help put it into context, here are some examples of what 7 billion kWh can power:
- More than 620,000 American average-sized homes for a year
- Stadium lighting for roughly 350,000 football games
- The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for more than 14,786 years
- Approximately 1,030 Walmart Supercenters for a year
- The entire Disneyland resort for 17 years
- The equivalent of two coal-fired power plants for more than a year
- Every residence in New Mexico for one year
How would you measure the scale of 7 billion kWh?