Starbucks further invests in renewable energy with virtual storage agreement

Coffee giant Starbucks has reaffirmed its “planet-positive future” by formalizing its 2030 goals to cut its carbon, water and waste footprints by half.

Solar panels on the new Starbucks store in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Photo by Patrick T. Fallon for Starbucks

“Our Planet Positive initiatives have a central role in our long-term business strategy, and directly address what our customers are asking for,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks chief executive officer. “We are moving toward a more circular economy, and we are doing so in a very intentional, transparent, and accountable way.”

Starbucks has sourced 100% renewable energy for its more than 9,000 U.S., Canada and EMEA company-operated stores since 2015. The company has rapidly expanded its roster of renewable energy projects in the United States, supporting the growth of green energy onto the grid close to the stores that use the energy.

Starbucks announced new investments around the country including the company’s first on-site solar store in California.

  • Starbucks announced its intent to offset 50% of its company operated roasting and beverage production site’s electricity consumption in the United States by 2022 via Starbucks first supply chain Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) with a solar farm in Virginia.
  • Starbucks is also investing approximately $97 million in up to 23 new community solar projects in New York, which will supply solar energy to Starbucks Stores and other community subscribers.
  • Additionally, Starbucks is entering into a combined VPPA and Virtual Storage Agreement (VSA) that once online in 2021, will provide renewable energy for more than 550 stores in California with solar energy and utility-scale batteries.
  • Locally in Southwestern Washington, Starbucks supported the development of a new wind project. The 137-MW facility is providing renewable energy to approximately 140 Starbucks Stores and the company’s Kent Roasting Plant, along with numerous communities in Washington.

LevelTen Energy announced it is the entity behind the solar + storage PPA in California. LevelTen has facilitated 5.5 MW of energy storage and 24 MW of solar at the Terra-Gen Edwards Sanborn Solar and Storage Project to go to Starbucks. The full storage portion of the project in Kern County was approved by Clean Power Alliance (CPA) earlier this year.

“In 2019, Starbucks innovated when it worked with LevelTen Energy to create an unprecedented portfolio of three renewable power purchase agreements. Now, Starbucks is again paving the way for others to follow with this innovative contract for utility-scale storage,” said Bryce Smith, chief executive officer of LevelTen Energy. “By investing in storage, Starbucks will increase the value of its existing renewable energy portfolio and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels at the same time. It’s a transaction template for others and an incredible mechanism to rapidly scale storage capacity on the grid.”