McDonald’s Corporation and eBay said today that they had reached an agreement with Lightsource bp to acquire power from Louisiana’s largest solar project, which will be situated 30 miles northwest of the Baton Rouge located in Pointe Coupee Parish. A 345 megawatt Ventress Solar venture will help McDonald’s and eBay achieve their sustainability goals and progress their climate action commitments while also increasing Lightsource bp’s solar asset footprint across the Southeast. The project will create approximately 600,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy per year once completed, which is equivalent to the annual use of 59,000 US residences.
According to Emma Cox, McDonald’s Global Renewable Energy Lead, McDonald’s is well-positioned to help stimulate major action on climate change as one of the world’s largest restaurant corporations. “Our renewable energy agreement with Lightsource bp would not only create Louisiana’s largest solar venture and assist as the latest milestone in meeting our science-based emissions decrease target for 2030, but it will also show our belief that substantive solutions to creating a sustainable future need partnership and collaboration.”
“Investing in clean energy is a priority for eBay as we strive to achieve 100% renewable power by 2025,” stated Renee Morin, eBay’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “With this initiative, we will be able to get renewable energy to power our data center. Our partnership with Lightsource BP and McDonald’s helps us achieve our common aim of hastening the transition to a sustainable energy economy.”
The Ventress Solar farm is expected to start construction as soon as the end of this year, with commercial operations beginning in mid-2023. The project is being developed by Lightsource bp, which will also be the long-term operator and owner. Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp for the Americas, said, “This agreement is a perfect example of the teamwork required to achieve our joint objectives for a healthier, more sustainable, and robust planet and economy for years to come.” “Deals like this allow businesses of various sizes and energy requirements to come together and stimulate real development of clean, cheap energy sources in the United States. McDonald’s and eBay’s collaboration is a model we believe others will follow.”
Large-scale solar projects not only improve the health and energy protection of communities across America but also assist in boosting local economies. The more than $300 million privately financed solar farm will: Create roughly 400 construction jobs over 15-18 months, with the majority of the labor coming from the surrounding area
Provide a $30 million boost to Pointe Coupee Parish over the course of the project, including greater financing for schools, fire departments, libraries, and health services — all without raising taxes on the parish’s residents.
According to a study conducted by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, an economic development organization that supports the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, the project will have an indirect economic impact of more than $200 million.