Dec 8, 2020

Allete Clean Energy agrees wind site sale with McDonald’s

Dominic Ellis
3 min
Agreement will see Allete Clean Energy sell 200MW of renewable energy from its Caddo wind site to McDonald’s Corp
Agreement will see Allete Clean Energy sell 200MW of renewable energy from its Caddo wind site to McDonald’s Corp...

Allete Clean Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Allete, has announced a renewable energy sale agreement with McDonald’s Corp, for 200MW from the Caddo wind site it is currently constructing in Oklahoma.

The 300MW Caddo site, with its three renewable energy sale agreements with investment-grade Fortune 500 customers, will double the company’s capacity to serve accelerating corporate demand for clean energy. The project is located in Caddo County, in southern Oklahoma. 

“We’re honoured to help McDonald’s advance its climate action goals while developing a project that will bring sizeable economic benefits to rural Oklahoma,” says Allete Clean Energy President Allan S. Rudeck Jr.

“As corporations increasingly look to reduce carbon emissions through wind energy purchases, they also help build and strengthen local economies and diversify the nation’s power supply. Stable state and federal energy policy and local landowner and community support are foundational as we continue to deliver clean energy solutions to help customers achieve their sustainability goals.”

The statement adds that the project has the support of the local communities, where benefits include more than £37.4 million in tax revenue, £40.4 million in payments to landowners, and the creation of around 200 jobs during the construction phase, as well as 12 to 15 long-term operations jobs.

The Caddo agreement is part of a plan by McDonald’s to use its large-scale to help address climate change for current and future generations. The company, in collaboration with franchisees and suppliers, plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36 percent by 2030, from a 2015 base year.  

This year McDonald’s completed three new virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) and altogether, the company's share of five wind and solar projects will provide total capacity of 1130MW - enough to power around 8,000 restaurants (click here).  

“The Caddo project is an important addition to McDonald’s growing portfolio of renewable energy investments as part of our commitment to climate action,” explains Emma Gillespie Cox, North American Sustainability, McDonald’s. 

“Allete Clean Energy is a valued partner whose wind energy expertise helps us expand our impact on the environment, while also ensuring the access to and economic benefits of clean energy production for communities across the United States.”

Caddo’s 110 turbines will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of about 110,000 homes. The project increases Allete Clean Energy’s total operating, under construction, and build-transfer wind energy projects to more than 1,450 megawatts of nameplate capacity. 

The company’s recent growth has come through serving new commercial and industrial customers through its Diamond Spring and Caddo projects in Oklahoma, the statement adds. It had purchased both sites from Apex Clean Energy and, as at Diamond Spring, the two companies will work together to finalise the development and construction of Caddo.

“The Caddo project is a bright example of Allete’s strategy of sustainability in action,” said Allete President and Chief Executive Officer Bethany Owen. “Corporate commitment to clean energy is driving a substantial percentage of growth in the renewable energy sector, and Allete Clean Energy is increasingly seen as a proven, trusted partner in bringing more wind energy online.”

The Caddo site is expected to be operational by the end of 2021 and qualify for the safe harbour provision of federal renewable energy production tax credits. The company continues to own an inventory of safe harbour turbines and is exploring additional opportunities to put more of them to use to serve customers, the statement adds.

Headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota, Allete Clean Energy acquires, develops, and operates clean and renewable energy projects. It has delivered build-transfer projects totalling more than 1,450MW of nameplate wind capacity across seven states.

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May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

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