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Gap sets course for 100 per cent clean energy

Published: 14 August 2019 - Carly Wills

Global apparel retailer, Gap, has announced that it has signed a 90MW virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for the Aurora Wind Project with Enel Green Power North America, marking one of the largest offsite renewable energy contracts by an apparel retailer. 

The 12-year agreement is Gap Inc.’s latest renewable energy deal and will enable the company to reach its 2020 goal to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for its owned and operated facilities by 50 per cent compared to 2015. The company also announced it has set a goal to reach 100 per cent renewable energy across its global owned and operated facilities by 2030.

“We have a responsibility to reduce our climate impact. For Gap, being a part of the climate solution means making strategic investments in clean energy generation. Today we have secured a path to achieving our 2020 goal, but we must do more. I’m proud to commit to renewable energy for 100 per cent of our stores, headquarters and distribution centres globally by 2030,” said Art Peck, president and chief executive officer, Gap.

Gap operates more than 3,300 stores worldwide, however the vast majority of its distributed store fleet are leased sites located in buildings and malls owned by landlords, limiting the company’s ability to implement onsite renewable energy assets. The agreement with Enel Green Power allows Gap to meet its renewable energy goal by aggregating its distributed electricity load in the US and purchasing wind energy equivalent to the energy needs of over 1,500 retail stores in its global real estate portfolio. The agreement provides benefits both to the local grid by adding new clean generation, while also stabilising operating costs for the company in the face of fluctuating energy prices.

The wind electricity output purchased by Gap from the 90MW portion of Enel Green Power’s 299MW Aurora project is expected to total approximately 374 gigawatt hours (GWh) each year. It will reduce GHG emissions equivalent to the carbon reduction of removing 60,000 passenger cars from the road annually.

Gap was advised on this VPPA by Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services, which assisted the company in its project selection and negotiations. 

This announcement is the third renewable energy contract signed by Gap. Earlier this year, the company joined with Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Salesforce and Workday to sign a joint 42.5MW renewable energy deal, with Gap’s share of the project addressing the energy footprint of all Athleta stores and operations. Previously, Gap signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with SunPower for 3MW of onsite solar at its distribution centre in Fresno, California.

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