Earlier this month, Loblaw Companies announced that electricity it purchases for its supermarkets, drugstores, offices and distribution centres in Alberta will be generated entirely by wind, sun and water.
The company says this leveraging of renewable energy sources is the first of its kind in Canada.
According to a press release, this program will eliminate the carbon emissions associated with the company’s electricity purchases in Alberta, while cutting its nationwide enterprise operating emissions by 17 per cent.
Loblaw says one day soon, carbon-free electricity will be used to power over 280 locations, including Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, No Frills, Real Canadian Liquor Store, Independent and Wholesale Club stores, as well as the company’s offices and distribution centres.
This energy purchase will provide over 300,000 megawatt hours of carbon-free energy every year – enough to power the homes in a city like Lethbridge, Alberta. It will also save the equivalent of up to 180,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere.
“Loblaw has been actively reducing its carbon emissions for over a decade, consistently exceeding its own ambitious targets. Last year, when we raised those targets to become net zero by 2040, we knew we would need some breakthrough innovation to reach our goal,” said Galen G. Weston, Chairman and President, Loblaw Companies Limited.
“This project delivers that by turning our highest carbon emitting energy market into our lowest, in one single step. Today’s announcement is a powerful example of private industry working together to bring scaled change to the energy transition.”
Loblaw is making this purchase from TC Energy, a Calgary-based energy company. TC Energy, in its own campaign to reduce emissions, has put together Alberta’s first product to make carbon-free energy available round-the-clock. As such, TC Energy either owns, operates, or has access to carbon-free renewable energy generation and large-scale energy storage facilities.
This product solves the renewable energy intermittency challenge: what to do when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine. With this approach, carbon-free energy is generated by solar panels and wind turbines that capture energy from the elements and feed it into Alberta’s electrical grid – which powers Loblaw stores, offices and distribution centres. A pumped-hydro energy storage station circulates water up- and down-hill to store and generate carbon-free power when wind and solar power are not available.
The end result: carbon-free energy, available 24/7, generated by Canadian innovation, that will not only power Loblaw’s stores and business, but also create more stable and reliable renewable energy for Albertans.
“TC Energy’s success is incumbent on providing customer-led energy solutions,” says François Poirier, President and CEO, TC Energy. “Our team crafted a plan to help them access carbon-free electricity to power their entire operation in Alberta.”
Poirier added “Our intrinsic power knowledge and experience drove our team to develop Canada’s first-ever 24X7 carbon-free energy product. This means Loblaw – and other companies – can make huge strides to reduce their emissions – a goal we are all aligned to.”
The energy purchase between Loblaw and TC Energy is subject to the satisfaction of all terms and conditions set out in the agreement between the two organizations. Elements of the program are expected to come online in 2025.