Kirstin Gunderson and Mack Wykoff, two members of Walmart’s energy team, were recently featured in a Live Better video where they talked about solar power and Walmart’s goal to be supplied 100% renewable energy. The Green Room interviewed Kirstin to learn more.
Green Room: Why is renewable energy important to Walmart and what progress have we made in reaching our goal to be supplied 100% by renewable energy?
Kirstin Gunderson: As we expand our business, both in the U.S. and throughout the world, we are looking to grow responsibly in the amount and type of resources we use to power new stores, clubs, and distribution centers. Our renewable energy program supports this goal, and our commitments in this area help ensure a cleaner environment, encourage the growth of renewable energy technologies, and support our mission to help people save money so they can live better. To reach our goal of being supplied by 100% renewable energy, we employ a diverse set of technologies including solar, wind, and fuel cells across our operations. To date, just in the U.S. and Puerto Rico alone, we have more than 200 renewable energy projects in operation, with many more under development. In California, our solar program generates more than 70 million kilowatt hours of energy each year, the same amount used by more than 5,400 homes (See Driving solar in California). But it is not only these numbers that are important, it is also what they represent to us, which is the opportunity to be a leader in the renewable energy space, and to demonstrate to other companies that renewable energy is a clean, smart option.
GR: Why is renewable energy important to you?
KG: Working at Walmart, it never ceases to amaze me how our commitment can help shape and drive an industry, and how projects that support our goal to be supplied by 100% renewable energy can energize our associates, engage our customers and members, and encourage adoption on a broader scale by our peers in the industry. The opportunity to help ensure a clean environment in the communities we serve is so powerful and, to me, our renewable energy program is an example of that power. These projects are a source of pride for many of our store and club managers. Our work in this space also helps to demonstrate how business goals and environmental goals can work in tandem, they can even be one in the same, and that is a message our renewable program says clearly.
GR: What are you working on next?
KG: We still have much work to do in pursuit of our ultimate goal. In California, we continue working to expand our solar portfolio to include more than 75% of our stores and clubs. Across the US and Puerto Rico we have a goal to complete 1,000 projects by the year 2020. We are also continuing to look at new technologies to enhance our portfolio, and new regions where all our technologies are feasible.
In general, whether it be through renewable energy production, the purchase of renewable energy, or our work to increase the share of renewables in the grid, we are continually working to support our 100% renewable goal, and help ensure a cleaner environment, while saving our customers money.