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US companies defy Trump: High investments in wind power are driving energy transition ahead

While fear of the new US president Donald Trump, along with his dubious attitude to climate change, continues to circulate the world, various US companies are underlining their support of the energy transition.

Image: MicrosoftImage: Microsoft

First in line was tech-giant Microsoft who announced that the company has once again invested in a wind project. In the future, their Cheyenne, Wyoming data center will be supplied by 100 percent wind power. To do so Microsoft has completed the largest company order to date of 237 megawatts of wind power. That makes the company still well on their self-imposed targets for a transition to renewable energies. Microsoft recently announced that 44 percent of the energy needed in its data centers is coming from renewables. By 2018 this share will be expanded to 50 percent and to 60 percent at the beginning of the next decade.

Food producer Mars also relies on wind energy. Just before the beginning of this year's Climate Summit in Marrakech, Morocco, the Americans announced to invest in a third wind farm. The farm will be erected in Mexico and will supply the company's five factories there in the future. In addition, Mars called for the energy transition to be pushed forward and prompted appropriate signals from politics.

Commenting on Bloomberg, Mars' Global Sustainability Director, Kevin Rabinovitch said, “We had a CEO retire in 2014 and had a new CEO take his role since we started our targets. We didn’t walk away from the targets and rewrite the whole thing—and we won’t rewrite them when this [current] CEO retires either“.

General Motors is also investing in wind power. At the beginning of the week, an investment of more than 50 megawatts of wind energy in Texas was announced to supply local plants. However, GM is still at the beginning of its switch to renewables: when the wind farm will be launched in early 2018, 6 percent of the car manufacturer's energy will come from renewable sources.

Meanwhile, at COP22 in Marrakech, an alliance of 365 companies sent an open letter to the US government, calling for further support for all climate protection plans. The letter was signed by Intel, Ikea, Unilever, eBay, Gap, Hewlett Packard, Hilton, Kelloggs, Levi's, L'Oreal, NIKE and Starbucks, amongst others.

In addition, American companies are also trying to exert pressure on their local governments in the federal states. As Arkansas Business reports, seven companies, including Ingersoll Rand, Unilever and LM Wind Power are calling Asa Hutchinson, Republican governor of Arkansas, to support the construction of the ‘Clean Line Project’. The power line will distribute wind power in the US Midwest and is considered a large prestige object of the Obama administration.

The pressure on the new US president is already high. It remains to be hoped that he will revise his previous statements as so often and advance climate protection.

Katrin Radtke
US, pressure, GM, Microsoft, COP22, Mars, Unilever, energy transition, renewables

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