Mars to Build Massive Wind Farm (Infographic)

Candy maker expects it to provide electricity equal to its entire U.S. operations

Published in CSP Daily News

Mars wind farm (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores)

MCLEAN, Va. -- Mars Inc., in partnership with Sumitomo Corp. of Americas, has announced an agreement for a new 200-megawatt wind farm that the candy maker said will generate 100% of the electricity needs of Mars' U.S. operations--70 sites, including 37 factories.

Mesquite Creek Wind, a 118-turbine wind farm was jointly developed by Sumitomo, New York, and BNB Renewable Energy, Lamesa, Texas, with a footprint of 25,000 acres. With an annual output of more than 800,000 megawatt-hours, the energy created from the wind farm will represent 24% 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% 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 into the joint venture. Sumitomo and Mars have reached contractual arrangements that allow Mars to receive all the renewable energy certificates from Mesquite Creek, offsetting the energy use for Mars' entire U.S. network of facilities.

"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," Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer at Mars, said.

"We are pleased to be partnered with Mars to help them reduce their carbon footprint and allow their electricity to be carbon neutral [ click here to watch video] 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 of Sumitomo.

"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," 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 it will generate electricity via 118 1.7MW GE turbines. Turbine delivery is scheduled to begin at the end of the summer, with commercial operations expected to commence in second-quarter 2015.

McLean, Va.-based Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Petcare and Symbioscience. Mars brands include chocolate: M&M's, Snickers, Dove, Galaxy, Mars, Milky Way And Twix; Wrigley: Doublemint, Extra, Orbit and 5 Chewing Gums, Skittles and Starburst candies and Altoids and Lifesavers mints; Food: Uncle Ben's, Dolmio, Ebly, Masterfoods, Seeds of Change and Royco; Drinks: Alterra Coffee Roasters, The Bright Tea Co., Klix and Flavia; Petcare: Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas, Kitekat, Banfield Pet Hospital and Nutro; Symbioscience: Cocoavia and Wisdom Panel.