Big Mac does Big Wind

November 18, 2019

CNBC:

McDonald’s has inked two power purchase agreements which will see the fast food giant buy renewable energy generated by wind and solar projects in Texas.

In an announcement Thursday McDonald’s described the agreements as “long term” and “large scale.” Construction on both projects is set to start over the next few months. 

The firm said that the combined energy generated from its contribution to the projects was expected to come to 380 megawatts (MW). While the energy will not be routed directly to McDonald’s restaurants or offices, it will nevertheless add to the total renewable energy available to the grid. McDonald’s said energy produced by the facilities would equate to more than “2,500 restaurants-worth of electricity.” 

The wind energy portion of the deal will amount to 220 MW and come from Aviator Wind West, which is part of the larger, 525 MW Aviator Wind project in Coke County. Facebook is also purchasing around 200 MW of energy from the Aviator Wind East part of the scheme. McDonald’s did not reveal the name of the solar project. 

“These U.S. wind and solar projects represent a significant step in our work to address climate change, building on years of renewable energy sourcing in many of our European markets,” Francesca DeBiase, who is the chief supply chain and sustainability officer at McDonald’s, said in a statement.

McDonald’s has said it wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions related to its restaurants and offices by 36 percent by 2030, from a 2015 baseline.

It has also committed to a 31% cut in emissions intensity per metric ton of food and packaging across its supply chain by 2030 compared to 2015. The goals have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative.

McDonald’s joins a number of major U.S. firms signing renewable energy deals.

Last month Amazon announced three renewable energy projects, including its first in Scotland. The tech giant said the facilities would provide energy to its Amazon Web Services data centers.

And in March, Microsoft signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for the energy produced by a 74-megawatt solar power facility in North Carolina.

Also testing a vegetarian burger, below.

Washington Post:

Months after Burger King started serving a plant-based version of its signature Whopper, McDonald’s announced Thursday that it is rolling out its own veggie burger.

The “P.L.T.” — that’s an acronym of its ingredients, natch: “Plant. Lettuce. Tomato” — will be available for 12 weeks starting Monday at 28 locations in southwestern Ontario, according to a statement. The burger in question is from Beyond Meat, a company whose meat-substitute patties are already being served Carl’s Jr. locations around the United States.

The alliance of market-dominating McDonald’s and Beyond Meat puts them in competition with the combo of Burger King and Impossible Foods, the provider of the Whopper’s vegetarian patty. Burger King tested its Impossible Whopper in the St. Louis area before expanding it to the chain’s 7,200 locations nationwide. McDonald’s is describing the P.L.T. in similar terms. “This test allows us to learn more about real-world implications of serving the P.L.T., including customer demand and impact on restaurant operations,” Ann Wahlgren, McDonald’s vice president of global menu strategy, said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Burger King’s rollout of the Impossible (meatless) Whopper is going well, but some mixed news from a climate perspective.

Business Insider:

“This is not a gimmick,” Jose Cil, the CEO of Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International, recently told Business Insider. “This is something we believe can be a part of the Burger King menu for the long term.”

According to Cil, the Impossible Whopper has attracted a mix of new customers and convinced regular Burger King visitors to try the new menu item. According to channel checks by Cowen, the Impossible Whopper is set to contribute to 6% same-store sales growth in the third quarter at American Burger Kings. 

According to Charles, stores are selling roughly 45 Impossible Whoppers per day. Once national advertising launches, Cowen predicts that figure will ramp up to 50 per store per day. Traditional beef Whopper sales have also increased since the Impossible Whopper launched. 

The Impossible Whopper is also apparently convincing customers to pay more. According to Cowen, checks with the plant-based burger tend to be $10 or more, compared to the average Burger King order of $7.36 in 2018. 

“While data is limited, our check suggests Impossible Whopper is attracting new and lapsed users to the brand that skew younger and affluent, as well as driving high rates of repeat orders,” Charles writes. 

One Response to “Big Mac does Big Wind”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Coke County is one of those otherwise desolate parts of west Texas that has an excess of wind. It’s also pretty dry, which is one reason I’ve come to appreciate the technologies of wind, PV, and possibly even molten salt solar.

    Texas has the means and motivation to build major power transmission backbones from its western wastelands to population centers. (And the lines don’t have to deal with a lot of right-of-way overgrowth or tall vegetation sparking off of power cables.)


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