Massive wind power farm moves Mars toward carbon neutral operations

Source:Mars, Inc.

Food manufacturing major Mars moves toward carbon neutral operations with a 200 MW wind farm that will provide electricity equal to its entire U.S. operations

Mars, Incorporated, in partnership with Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, announced an agreement today on a new 200 MW wind farm that will generate 100 percent of the electricity needs of Mars' U.S. operations, which is comprised of 70 sites, including 37 factories and 25,000 Associates.

Mesquite Creek Wind, a 118-turbine wind farm was jointly developed by Sumitomo and BNB Renewable Energy and is based near Lamesa, Texas with a footprint of 25,000 acres­.  With an annual output of over 800,000 megawatt-hours, the energy created from the wind farm will represent 24 percent of Mars' total global factory and office carbon footprint – equivalent to the electricity required to power 61,000 U.S. households. The wind farm represents the biggest long-term commitment to renewable energy use of any food manufacturing business in the United States.

The wind farm is one of the ways Mars is achieving its goal to make its operations 'Sustainable in a Generation' by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. In the shorter term, Mars has committed to reduce fossil fuel energy and greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2015, using 2007 as its baseline year. The Mesquite Creek wind farm will enable Mars to meet this 2015 goal.

BNB, the originating developer of the wind farm, began discussions with Mars and brought Sumitomo Corporation in to the joint venture.  Sumitomo Corporation and Mars, Incorporated have reached contractual arrangements that allow Mars to receive all the renewable energy certificates from Mesquite Creek, offsetting the energy use for Mars' entire US facilities. 

Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer at Mars, Incorporated, commented, "We are committed to doing our part to limit climate change. We are therefore delighted to be announcing this major renewable project that takes us a big step towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral in our operations. This is an innovative approach that makes great business and environmental sense."

"We are pleased to be partnered with Mars to help them reduce their carbon footprint and allow their electricity to be carbon-neutral in the U.S.  Mesquite Creek is a landmark project for Sumitomo and our sixth renewable energy investment in the U.S., further strengthening our commitment as a major developer and owner of renewable energy," said William Cannon, Vice President, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.

"By making this extraordinary commitment to buy renewable energy, Mars is sending a clear message that companies, private and public, have the power to lead the world on climate change.  It's good for the bottom line, it's good for the environment, and projects like this leave a lasting legacy of values we hold dear. Thank you Mars and Sumitomo," said Jonathan Butcher, Sr., a founder of BNB.

Development of Mesquite Creek began in 2008 on the 25,000 acre site, which is located in Borden and Dawson Counties, Texas, about eight miles from Lamesa.  Blattner Energy Inc. is constructing the wind farm, and electricity will be generated via 118 GE (NYSE: GE) 1.7 MW turbines. Turbine delivery is scheduled to begin at the end of the summer, with commercial operations expected to commence in the second quarter of 2015.

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