McDonald’s, Partners Sign 189 MW VPPA for Blue Jay Solar Project


McDonald’s Corp. and all five members of the restaurant chain’s North American Logistics Council (NALC) – Armada, Earp Distribution, Martin Brower, Mile Hi Foods and The Anderson-DuBose Co. – have signed virtual power purchase agreements (VPPA) with Enel North America to purchase 189 MW of renewable energy and the associated renewable energy certificates (REC) from Enel Green Power’s Blue Jay solar project in Grimes County, Texas.

This aggregation of a major company purchasing power jointly with its logistics partners means the electricity load of McDonald’s USA’s entire logistics supply chain for all its U.S. restaurants is expected to be 100% supported by renewable energy.

“Adding Blue Jay solar to our U.S. renewable energy portfolio is one of the many important steps in our journey to achieving our net zero aspirations,” says Bob Stewart, SVP and chief supply chain officer for North America at McDonald’s. “This deal is a unique example of how McDonald’s and its logistics partners are combining efforts to leverage their reach and scale to tackle supply chain emissions together. We are excited about our collective potential to help address climate change and drive continuous improvement.

The Blue Jay solar project is expected to be fully operational in 2023. Once complete, McDonald’s and its suppliers’ combined electricity purchase is expected to amount to an estimated average of over 470,000 MWh of renewable energy annually. The Blue Jay project also includes an 88.2 MWh battery energy storage system.

“While major corporations are increasingly encouraging and advising their partners on how to reduce their carbon emissions, McDonald’s took it one step further by becoming the anchor buyer alongside its suppliers. McDonald’s and the NALC recognized early on that collaboration across the supply chain is the only way to effectively address electricity emissions for all logistics suppliers,” states Danny Fahey, NALC’s sustainability lead and vice president of U.S. Strategy at Martin Brower.

Enel, McDonald’s and its suppliers are committed to creating long-term value in the local communities surrounding the Blue Jay solar project. The companies signed a mutual letter of intent to participate in Enel’s Premium Offer program and co-develop community investment projects that align with the core values of each company.

“This aggregation represents how a joint effort will be essential to making continued progress towards climate goals,” continues Fahey. “The combined purchase of 189 MW of renewable power, equivalent to more than 900 U.S. McDonald’s restaurants-worth of renewable energy annually, is intended to help McDonald’s and the NALC members meet their ambitious climate commitments.”

“This innovative deal demonstrates how Enel is helping major companies take a hands-on approach in helping their partners decarbonize their operations,” comments Paolo Romanacci, head of Enel North America’s renewable energy business at Enel Green Power. “We’re honored to be part of such a monumental deal and look forward to helping McDonald’s and its suppliers achieve their supply chain emission reduction goals through this tailored solution.”

The buyer aggregation was facilitated by Coho Climate Advisors.  

“Close collaboration amongst all parties during a challenging time in the renewable energy industry proved crucial to create this impressive agreement,” says Gavin Ahern, director of client service for Coho Climate Advisors.

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