We’ve really accelerated our work with solar and wind power in recent years, and I’m so proud of that progress. As a result, Walmart now has nearly 300 renewable energy projects in operation or under development around the world. And the U.S. EPA has named us the #1 user of onsite renewable energy.
But far more important than what we’ve already achieved, I wanted to share with the readers of The Green Room our excitement about the future. We’re taking our next big step on the path to being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy and making even more dramatic progress on energy efficiency.
More than ever, we know that this is the right thing to do. Not only is renewable energy clean, but the renewable power we buy at Walmart today meets or beats non-renewable power prices over the long term.
We also know that marrying up renewables with energy efficiency is especially powerful. Because when we use less energy, that’s less energy we have to buy – and that means less waste and more savings.
Here’s the bottom line: renewable energy and energy efficiency helps us with one of our most important business priorities – delivering low prices to our customers.
Believe me, our customers understand the difference that affordable energy makes. Whether it’s paying the electric bill or filling up the car with gas, they work hard to stretch every dollar.
When I look at the future, I see energy costs growing twice as fast as our store and club growth. Finding cleaner and more affordable energy can really make a difference. And I love that our customers don’t have to choose between shopping at a retailer committed to clean energy and shopping for products they can afford.
So how are we going to make a bigger difference with renewable energy and energy efficiency? We have two new, significant commitments.
First, we’re focusing on renewable energy. In fact, we’re going six times bigger than our previous progress. By the end of 2020, our goal is to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy globally. That’s equal to eliminating the need for two fossil fuel power plants.
Second, we’re accelerating energy efficiency. This is even above and beyond the efficiency gains we’ve already made. By the end of 2020, we’ll reduce the energy per square foot that we need to power our buildings around the world by 20 percent versus 2010. So what will these commitments mean for our business, our customers and the communities we serve? For one thing, they’ll make us a stronger business. As I mentioned, energy efficiency and renewables are critical to helping our customers save money and live better. By the end of 2020, we could save more than $1 billion per year globally in energy costs once the program is fully implemented. But they’re also good for our communities. Seven billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy is enough to power all of the households in Austin, Texas for over a year. And that’s all clean, pollution-free energy.
And just as important, these commitments are good for the environment. Combined, we expect they will help us avoid almost 9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s like taking almost one and a half million cars off the road. In fact, over the long term, the commitments we announced yesterday will allow us to continue to grow without increasing our our greenhouse gas emissions. For the first time, we are forecasting that the greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings’ energy use will decrease by 2020.
This next big step on our path to being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy and accelerating our progress with energy efficiency is an incredible opportunity to save money and create a cleaner environment. I hope with yesterday’s announcements that renewable energy will be seen not as an alternative but as a standard. It’s both the right way and the best way forward for the future.