San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. has announced that 100% of its global electricity consumption for 2017 will be met with renewable energy. The milestone means the financial services company has met the first part of its commitment to purchase renewable energy to power 100% of global operations by the close of 2017, with a transition to long-term agreements that fund new sources of green power by 2020.
To meet the demand for its more than 90 million square feet of real estate, including data centers, corporate offices and branches, Wells Fargo says it purchased more than 2 million MWh of 2017 vintage renewable energy certificates (RECs).
“Like so many of our customers, Wells Fargo strongly supports accelerating the development and production of renewable energy,” says Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan. “Meeting our global electricity requirements with 100 percent renewable energy demonstrates our leadership in operational efficiency, and we are committed to continuing to innovate our products and services and provide financing for our customers’ renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology projects.”
In addition to leveraging a renewables strategy to advance operational efficiency, Wells Fargo says it supports the development of clean energy and technology through its business and its philanthropy:
- Since 2012, Wells Fargo has provided more than $70 billion in financing for environmentally beneficial businesses and projects, including the Kern High School District’s carport solar system.
- In 2016, more than 8% of all wind and solar photovoltaic energy generated in the U.S. came from projects owned wholly or in part by Wells Fargo through its tax-equity financing business, according to the company.
- In its philanthropy, among other projects, the company supports clean technology innovation through a $30 million partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory – the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator – and significant financial support for GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit solar installer that brings renewable energy to low- and moderate-income and tribal communities.
“Maximizing our operational efficiency is one way we ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to sustainability and our commitment to addressing climate change,” says Curt Radkin, senior vice president in Wells Fargo’s Corporate Properties Group. “It helps us manage long-term expenses, reduce the environmental impact of our energy consumption and enhance our team member experience.”
Wells Fargo properties currently generate a portion of their electricity demand through solar panels. To help meet its commitment to develop new forms of generation to power its operations by 2020, the company will explore expanding its capabilities in a variety of areas, including on-site generation, directed power purchase agreements, utility-sponsored programs and other mechanisms.
“Making longer-term strategic commitments to purchasing energy from diverse generation sources will require a major shift in the way we think about and approach energy procurement,” says Radkin. “But we see it as a risk-mitigation strategy that will benefit Wells Fargo over time while minimizing our carbon footprint for the benefit of our communities and the environment in general.”
Wells Fargo’s renewable energy commitment is one of several 2020 goals focused on environmental sustainability. As of the close of the second quarter, the company is on track to achieve all of its sustainability goals. Since 2008, Wells Fargo has reduced absolute greenhouse-gas emissions by 42%, water use by 56%, energy consumption by 34% and waste by 30%. The company has also achieved LEED certification for 24% of its real estate portfolio.
Photo: Wells Fargo’s Hialeah Gardens, Fla., branch generates much of its own electricity requirements with solar panels.