New Projects, Renewables, Wind

McDonald’s, Apex & Ares sign virtual renewables PPA

McDonald’s, Apex Clean Energy and Ares Management Corp. have announced a 220 MW virtual renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) between McDonald’s and Aviator Wind West, a portion of the Aviator Wind project located in Coke County, Texas.

The virtual PPA was negotiated by Ares Management and Apex and represents the first wind energy contract signed by McDonald’s. The PPA will help the iconic company make strides toward its Climate Action Target to reduce GHG emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36 per cent by 2030.

The agreement with Aviator Wind West, together with a virtual solar power purchase agreement, positions McDonald’s to add more renewable energy to the grid than any other U.S. restaurant company to date.

“As we look at the most pressing social and environmental challenges facing the world today, McDonald’s has a responsibility to take action, and our customers expect us to do what is right for the planet,” said Francesca DeBiase, chief supply chain and sustainability officer, McDonald’s. “This U.S. wind project represents a significant step in our work to address climate change, building on years of renewable energy sourcing in many of our European markets. We want to keep this momentum going, and we’re excited for what’s next.”

The energy generated for the virtual power purchase agreement will be equivalent to 1,300 McDonald’s restaurants’ worth of electricity.

“By developing a clear science-based target for reducing carbon emissions and working to achieve that target through such a significant renewable energy purchase at Aviator Wind West, McDonald’s is demonstrating its leadership to a global audience,” said Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex Clean Energy. “Apex is proud to partner with McDonald’s in its journey to create a better future for people around the world.”

At 525 MW, the Aviator Wind project, developed by Apex and owned by funds managed by Ares Infrastructure and Power, will be the largest single-phase project in ERCOT and the largest single-phase, single-site project in the United States.

“The growth in long-term corporate off-take agreements is a testament to the efficient and sustainable low-cost power in the renewables industry,” said Keith Derman, co-head of Ares Infrastructure and Power. “We look forward to working with McDonald’s on Aviator Wind West and assisting other leading corporations in utilizing renewable energy as part of their commitment to clean energy.”

Apex Clean Energy will provide both construction and asset management services for the project, which will be operational in 2020. The project will create approximately 300 short-term construction jobs and at least nine long-term operations positions, as well as generate approximately $140m in tax revenue for the local economy.

Under a virtual PPA, the clean energy produced doesn’t actually go directly to the buyer. Instead, it purchases credits and funds investment to deploy the renewables into the grid at large.

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Onshore and offshore utility-scale wind projects will be the topics of discussion in the Wind and Solar Knowledge Hub at POWERGEN International, happening November 19-21 in New Orleans. Click here for registration and education details.