NextEra Energy, a Fortune 500 company, is currently in the process of securing land near Kansas City, Missouri, for a solar-plus-storage project. Their goal is to combine hundreds of megawatts of solar and store the energy for use. This is due, in part, to solar farms becoming the herald of a new movement in the world of renewable energy.
But why is NextEra Energy focusing on Kansas City for its next solar farm?
Kansas City is a prime place to establish a solar farm as the sun shines in that area of the country nearly 230 days out of the year. Kansas City is also a city that has slowly embraced solar energy ever since the 1980s. (Blanchard, Barrett Solar)
NextEra Energy’s goal has been “to being the best electric utility in the world, by delivering superior value to our customers, by operating with excellence, and by supporting a constructive regulatory environment.” The company already holds a lot of real estate in the Midwest, but with the new 3,500-acre solar farm outside Kansas City, NextEra is planning on bringing something new to the table with their storage which prompted NextEra to cut their ties to the coal industry and shift their efforts towards renewable energy.
NextEra isn’t the only corporation taking steps towards renewable energy.
With the looming threat of climate change, companies like BP. Exxon, Amazon and Starbucks have started investing in renewable energy start-ups along with purchasing land to generate clean energy. Corporations are taking steps to use renewable energy in response to local and state governments enacting climate-focused litigation along with demonstrations and company shareholders showing more interest in renewable energy. Although corporations can’t agree on if climate change is real or not, they can agree on good investments. As the public is becoming aware of how harmful the fossil fuel industry is, corporations are taking steps towards renewable energy to please their consumers and shareholders. This type of behavior is becoming more common, even with companies that aren’t in the fossil fuel industry.
In her article “Renewable energy finally takes off, as big money enters the industry”, Beth Kindle explains how large corporations are seeing returns on their investments as they pledge to use only renewable energy for their companies. Because of that, with more countries, governments, cities, etc. becoming activists for renewable energy, they’re seeing a boom in jobs, health, and money. It’s also seen the rise of “energy cooperatives”, autonomous associations of people who voluntarily cooperate for their “mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit.” (Wikipedia) Even with the steps taken so far, there’s still much to do if we want to be 100% carbon for the next generation.