Mars to buy Texas project RECs

In a step toward becoming carbon-neutral, giant candy maker Mars will buy all renewable energy certificates (RECs) from the 200MW Mesquite Creek wind farm in Texas to help offset 25% of the fossil fuel energy and greenhouse gas emissions from its US operations by 2015.

Mars is effectively underwriting the 118-turbine wind project in partnership with Sumitomo Corporation of America, a unit of the Japanese trading house, which owns it. Earlier this year, Sumitomo bought out 50-50 project joint venture partner BNB Renewable Energy, which continues to co-develop it.

Mesquite Creek, due to fully enter service in second quarter 2015, will generate 800,000MWh of electricity - 100% of the needs of Mars’ 70 US sites, including 37 factories, and 25,000 employees.

The privately-held company claims Mesquite Creek marks the biggest long-term commitment to renewable energy use of any food manufacturing business in the US.

Mars is committed to achieving carbon neutral operations by 2040.

"We are committed to doing our part to limit climate change. This is an innovative approach that makes great business and environmental sense," says Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer at Mars.

Mesquite Creek will utilize General Electric 1.7MW turbines that will begin arriving at the site in September with commercial operation in second quarter 2015.

"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,” says Jonathan Butcher, Sr, a founder of BNB.