3M Xcels

Another “campus” green-light, but this one could be bigger

Renewable energy integration can be found in many forms these days. While state and city governments have been some of the most visible bodies to make significant green commitments, getting both thorough grid integration with large utilities and awareness and willingness from residential consumers can prove more difficult. One forum that regularly provides renewable commitment headlines are businesses—more often for the powering of their own headquarters and corporate offices than the places they manufacture from.

The most recent example of this growing trend comes from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, where jack-of-all-trades manufacturing/technology firm 3M announced February 28 it is committed to move to 100 percent renewable electricity in all its facilities around the world, beginning with its own headquarters tomorrow.

“3M is flipping the switch to becoming powered 100% by renewable energy,” said 3M CEO Mike Roman. “We are continuing to step up our leadership toward a more sustainable future – in our own operations, and in solutions for our customers.”

3M becomes the largest company in Xcel Energy Inc.’s service area across eight Western and Midwestern states to convert to 100 percent renewable electricity. 3M’s St. Paul global headquarters is a 409-acre campus with about 12,000 employees across 30 buildings and research labs, while Xcel is based right next door in Minneapolis.

Campuses—in both of their most common forms—have been a hot spot for large-scale renewable innovation. Just take a look at Loyola-Chicago’s cover story in the March 2018 Electrical Apparatus. Colleges worldwide have taken up the call to bring renewable energy to their campuses, as well.

3M’s renewable commitment will increase the company’s total global renewable electricity sourcing by more than 5 percent, bringing it to approximately 30 percent total. The company says it has recorded a 68 percent absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2002, while nearly doubling its revenue.

“We applaud 3M’s leadership in making a bold commitment to 100% renewable energy. Xcel Energy is proud to partner with 3M, because we both share a drive to innovate and a commitment to reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment,’’ said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

But perhaps this particular investment is more than just a make-nice smokescreen for the public by powering its own corporate headquarters (ahem, Apple). 3M is also joining RE100, a global leadership initiative, led by The Climate Group in partnership with Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) that brings together influential businesses committed to sourcing 100 percent renewable power for their worldwide operations.

As part of this pact, the company has also committed to the move to sourcing 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources and has set an interim target to source at least 50 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2025. The five-year goal is a fairy demanding requirement, as they’ll have to step up 20% in the allotted time period.

“3M has been a strong and committed business citizen in the State of Minnesota for more than 116 years. The announcement represents an important milestone in 3M’s valued partnership with Xcel Energy,” the company stated in the press release.

The majority of the power for 3M’s headquarters will be supplied by Xcel wind farms located near Pipestone, Minnesota. Additional electricity will come through the wind projects that are part of Xcel’s Windsource program and solar sources. So maybe the footprint is more of a full-bodied outline.

“3M has been a leader in environmental sustainability practices for decades. In 1975 we instituted our Pollution Prevention Pays program that has prevented over five billion pounds of air, water and waste pollution and has created $2.2 billion in savings. 3M’s ambitious 2025 goals include reducing water usage, impacting climate and energy targets. The company has been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 19 consecutive years.”

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: