Thursday, January 19, 2006

Encouraging wind energy or just PR?

Whole Foods, a large grocery retailer, announced it is going to voluntarily spend an extra $110 million on energy next year. For wind energy. But they are not going to use the wind energy. How would they get it to their stores. No, they are buying credits. They are paying to lower the cost of wind energy so others can pay the lower cost. Max Schultz reports at
Whole Foods, the trendy Austin-based company that prides itself on its environmental consciousness, announced this week that it will make the largest ever purchase of wind energy credits in the United States. The company pledged that in purchasing more than 458,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy credits from wind farms, it will offset 100 percent of the cost of its annual energy use. No other Fortune 500 company has done anything like this before.
Will this encourage the development of wind generation? It should. At first it sounds hokey. Just PR. But it is a way of using a market to transfer the benefits. Someone chose to do good by encouraging something desirable by lowering its price. I am a skeptic on the "end of the world" due to running out of fossil fuels. The Earth won't run out of energy until the Sun burns out in 8 billion years; it is bombarded with energy every day. It's just a matter of converting the arriving energy into a form we can use. Wind works. Go for it! The Whole Foods press release

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