Walmart and Schneider Electrical workforce as much as improve provider entry to renewable power PPAs

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Photo: From C2 Energy Capital from the contract with Walmart for 46 solar projects in 2019.

While corporate renewable energy sourcing is increasing, the total number of companies involved is still relatively small. According to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance’s Deal Tracker, just over 100 unique companies have been involved in the US renewable energy market since 2008. Renewable energy access challenges that smaller businesses face include a lack of size required to individually approach the market, insufficient training on the specific mechanisms of renewable energy transactions, and guidelines for securing renewable energy .

Walmart Inc. and Schneider Electric are working together to change that and improve Walmart’s US suppliers’ access to renewable energy. The Gigaton PPA program is designed to educate Walmart suppliers about purchasing renewable energy and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy by participating suppliers through aggregated power purchase agreements.

“The Gigaton PPA program is the kind of innovation in action that is needed to help our suppliers take the next step toward low carbon emissions and building a more sustainable future for our communities,” said Zach Freeze, senior director , Sustainability at Walmart. “Through Schneider Electric’s collaboration with our suppliers, the program aims to democratize access to renewable energy and accelerate use with our supplier base.”

The GPPA program consists of educating participants about the renewable energy market, providing guidance on the projects and bringing together interested companies to cohort into renewable energy contracts, taking advantage of the size of the group to achieve economies of scale . Walmart will act as the calling champion for the program and invite suppliers to join.

The company worked with Schneider Electric’s Energy & Sustainability Services to run the GPPA program. They used Schneider Electric’s NEO network, a global collaboration platform and community of more than 300 buyers and solution providers for renewable energy. Schneider Electric’s team of leading renewable energy experts will engage the participating Walmart suppliers and enable a multi-phase training and project selection process to help drive suppliers’ progress in making aggregated renewable energy purchases.

“We are honored to be working with Walmart on this revolutionary program,” said Steve Wilhite, Schneider Electric senior vice president. “The company is demonstrating significant leadership in improving its suppliers’ access to utility-scale renewable energy sources as part of the Gigaton project. The GPPA program aims to bring a significant amount of new wind and solar power into the grid at a time when climate protection measures are most urgent. “

The program directly supports Walmart’s Gigaton project, which aims to eliminate one gigaton (one billion tons) of carbon dioxide from Walmart’s global value chain by 2030. To date, more than 2,300 suppliers from 50 countries have participated in the Gigaton project. Suppliers have reported a total of 230 million tonnes of avoided emissions since 2017 – more than 20% of the target – from energy, waste, packaging, agriculture, forests, and product use and design.

Walmart’s goal is to be 50% renewable energy by 2025. The company currently powers an estimated 29% of its operations with renewable energy. Walmart and Schneider Electric are also members of the Buyer’s Alliance for Renewable Energy, a coalition that brings together buyers and suppliers of renewable energy to facilitate the transition to cleaner energy sources.

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