Safeway Looks to Mother Nature to Power Gas Stations and Stores

Sep 15, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Safeway announced it will buy electricity generated by wind power to provide for the energy needs of its 270 gas stations around the country, 15 stores in the San Francisco area
and the company’s corporate campuses in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek, Ca.

The company is purchasing 78 million kilowatt hours through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of its Green Power Partnership program. Companies involved in the
program agree to use renewable energy such as wind and solar in place of fossil fuels.

In a released statement, Laree Renda, executive vice president for the grocery chain said, “Protecting the environment and conserving our nation’s valuable energy resources is
something that Safeway and our customers care deeply about. By powering our fuel stations, stores and corporate offices with wind energy, we are taking a leadership role in using
cleaner sources of electricity.”

“The EPA applauds Safeway’s fuel stations for being among the largest commercial purchasers of green power in the United States,” said Blaine Collison, program director of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. “Safeway is leading by example and setting a standard for environmental partnership.”

Safeway becomes the largest buyer of renewable energy in California with this deal, according to the company’s press release.

Moderator’s Comment: What do you see as the benefits or drawbacks to Safeway’s deal to purchase renewable energy through the EPA’s Green Power Partnership
program? Do you expect other retailers to follow suit?

George Anderson – Moderator

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3 Comments on "Safeway Looks to Mother Nature to Power Gas Stations and Stores"

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David Livingston
15 years 5 months ago

This is just a PR move to impress customers on the left coast. I can’t seem to understand how they are able to separate the electricity that comes to their gas stations and corporate office and be able to tell if it is wind generated or otherwise?

How do they know if the electricity going to the little gas station in the parking lot of a Houston Randall’s store is wind generated? Well it’s beyond my feeble mind how they do that. I think these kinds of announcements are only intended to impress a certain group of customers. Why else would they bother to even announce it? Is this electricity less expensive? If it added to the bottom line or it improves sales, then I see others following suit. Otherwise, it just sounds like “feel good” PR that will have no meaningful impact on store operations.

Mark Lilien
15 years 5 months ago

Retailers can be colossal energy wasters, and customers who are sensitive to environmental issues know this. Furthermore, “green customer” consciousness is growing quickly. If the retail industry publicized its “green” efforts via a clearly recognized well-known symbol in web sites, on store entrance decals, and in catalogs and newspaper ads, the logo could be as well known as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Green solutions aren’t limited to energy issues, they also involve packaging issues. If American Consumer Product Manufacturers and major retail chains would form a similar alliance to the German DSD for packaging recycling, it would be fantastic PR and it would save this country’s taxpayers billions. The German alliance has been operating for a dozen years (see this website), so it can be used as a model of what works and what doesn’t. Green retailers can and should get outstanding PR for their efforts, which can be certainly 365 days a year, not just “one-shots.”

M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 5 months ago

I frequently drive past the “wind farms” in the Altamont Pass near Safeway’s headquarters in NorCal. Very pretty and inspiring, until you realize that only about 25% of the windmills are turning. This has nothing to do with the wind, because in a given area some ‘mills are turning furiously while others next to them are at a dead stop. Turned off. If nearby Safeway stores were using this power source, wouldn’t they all be turning? With Safeway’s new power initiative, I’m betting that 100% of these ‘mills will soon be twisting in the wind.


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