New York banking giant JPMorgan Chase is giving Texas’ renewable energy industry an extra tailwind.
The company announced Friday it plans to switch all its facilities to 100 percent renewable power by 2020. In Texas, 75 percent of JPMorgan Chase’s facilities will run on wind energy by the end of this year. That covers 584 branches and 8 million square feet, including a new 1.2 million-square-foot Plano campus.
To power those locations, JPMorgan Chase previously announced a 20-year deal to buy more than half the electricity generated by a new wind farm southwest of Fort Worth. NRG Energy’s Buckthorn facility in Erath County is scheduled to start operating by the end of this year.
The financial firm also is planning to install solar panels on 1,400 bank branches and 40 commercial buildings worldwide, including the Chase Legacy West Complex.
The renewable push is part of a broader sustainability effort by the company, including a commitment to provide $200 billion for “clean financing” through 2025 — such as helping with fundraising and underwriting for renewable energy companies or efforts.
The firm also plans to spend $200 million on its own efforts, from computer-controlled air conditioning to LED lighting.
David Owen, chief administrative officer for JPMorgan Chase, said this is good for the environment as well as a wise financial move. Employees and customers — particularly millennials — prioritize sustainability.
“We can take tens of miles of coal cars off the emissions screen,” he said. “We can take tens of thousands of cars off the road. It’s that kind of order-of-magnitude impact that we’re able to drive.”
Large corporations, like JPMorgan Chase, have contributed to the recent development of renewable projects through long-term purchase agreements.
The General Motors assembly plant in Arlington will be the first local facility powered entirely by renewable energy. Facebook’s new data center in Fort Worth is also powered by a wind farm about 90 miles away. 7-Eleven announced in April that it would buy wind energy plans for 425 Texas stores in the state’s competitive energy markets.
And big retailers, including Walmart, Target and Costco, are large consumers of solar from rooftop installations. Ikea, which is opening a Grand Prairie store this year, has rooftop solar on 90 percent of its U.S. locations.
Solar is still a minimal part of Texas’ energy mix, accounted for less than 1 percent this year. But wind has been a strong performer.
Last year, it accounted for 15 percent of the energy generated in parts of Texas served by grid operator ERCOT, which covers most of the state. That’s increased to nearly 21 percent so far this year.