Largest Food Company to Source All Its Electricity from Renewable Sources Brings Cost Savings to Rural Midwest
LA FARGE : Organic Valley, America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands, today announced that construction of three community solar projects totaling 12.67 MWdc is complete, making the cooperative the largest food company in the world to be 100 percent renewably powered. These solar projects are part of the 32 MWdc Butter Solar Portfolio (“Butter Solar”) which is owned and operated by BluEarth Renewables US.
To reach its 100 percent renewable electricity commitment set forth in 2017, Organic Valley collaborated with OneEnergy Renewables and a group of midwestern municipal utilities referred to as the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group (UMMEG). In late 2018, BluEarth Renewables acquired Butter Solar and they began construction in January 2019. Butter Solar will provide 23,000 people across 10 Midwest communities, including six in Organic Valley’s project portfolio, with reduced energy costs for more than 25 years through projects in or near their community.
“Our community solar partnership allows us to share the benefits of solar energy with our rural neighbors, advancing our mission to care for the people and farms we work with, as well as our planet,” says Bob Kirchoff, CEO of Organic Valley. “Just as ours has done, community-scale solar projects can also create meaningful and good-paying jobs where they are needed most.”
“With the construction of the entire Butter Solar Portfolio nearing completion, we are proud to partner with organizations such as Organic Valley and make these valuable solar projects a reality for the local communities,” said Jamey Fitzgibbon, Executive Vice-President, Engineering and Construction of BluEarth Renewables. “As we add more renewable energy to the power grid every day, we are committed to creating a more sustainable environment for generations to come.”
Organic Valley continues to focus on a sustainable future for rural America. In addition to the economic benefits of these municipal solar projects, the sites will feature grazing sheep and pollinator habitats under the panels. Organic Valley is also developing new projects and partnerships that aim to help rural American farms increase their sustainability, both financially and environmentally.
For more than 25 years, Organic Valley will buy renewable energy credits (RECs) from three solar projects, owned and operated by BluEarth Renewables, to help support the project and keep electricity prices low for everyone that lives in these rural Midwestern communities. Other organizations including Dr. Bronner’s, the City of Madison, Lime, and Native Energy have also agreed to buy RECs from their own project or groups of projects, as part of a shared commitment to lower their carbon footprint. “It was the combined financial impact of all the REC partners that enabled the projects to be financially viable; scaling up is what made this possible,” says Stanley Minnick, Energy Services & Technology Manager of Organic Valley.
To celebrate, Organic Valley held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 1 at the Cashton solar site in Wisconsin.
About Organic Valley
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents nearly 2,000 farmers in 34 U.S. states and has over $1.1 billion in sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a wide range of organic dairy, eggs and produce. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support our local economies. For further information visit www.organicvalley.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter (@OrganicValley) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/OrganicValley).
About OneEnergy Renewables
OneEnergy Renewables is an innovative developer of community and utility-scale solar energy projects in North America. Powered by the belief that the future will run on clean energy, our team delivers solar projects to communities, utilities, and commercial and institutional customers. We build trust with landowners, communities, and customers to help them achieve a cleaner, brighter energy future.
About BluEarth Renewables
BluEarth Renewables brings together extraordinary people with the power to change the future™ by delivering renewable energy to the power grid every day. We are a leading, independent, power producer that acquires, develops, builds, owns and operates wind, hydro and solar facilities across North America. Our portfolio includes 333 MW net (405 MW gross) of nameplate capacity in operation and under construction and over 1,000 MW under development.