WALKER — Meijer Inc. has signed a 15-year contract to purchase output from a large-scale solar project in Texas under an agreement that will offset the retailer’s carbon emissions.
Meijer last week announced the virtual power purchase agreement with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, which is developing the 250 megawatt (MW) Pisgah Ridge Solar project south of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The developer is a non-regulated subsidiary of Charlotte, N.C.-based utility giant Duke Energy.
The project broke ground in June 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Meijer is one of at least two corporate buyers for the project’s output: Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company Charles River Laboratories Inc. has contracted for 102 MW of output for 15 years, Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions announced last year.
Meanwhile, Meijer officials say the contract will help the company achieve its 50-percent carbon reduction goal by 2025 that was announced in January. While the Texas project will not directly power any Meijer stores, the company will receive credits for the avoided emissions.
“At Meijer, we are motivated to make an impact in the local communities we serve, and beyond, by doing our part and taking the necessary steps to reduce carbon emissions,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said in a statement. “Meijer has made significant progress over the years to integrate sustainability into our daily operations. We’re committed to these ongoing efforts and a project like this brings us closer to our industry leading sustainability goals.”
Keyes noted in January that the company is pursuing various paths to carbon reductions “not only because it makes good business sense, but because it aligns with our values and mission of enriching lives in the communities we serve.” Those paths include renewable energy purchases and clean energy pilot projects such as geothermal-powered refrigeration facilities.
Meijer operates more than 250 stores in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Meijer officials said earlier this year that the company has reduced carbon emissions by 17 percent since 2014 even while opening 52 new stores and distribution centers.