The future has arrived
The EPA is out with a list of the top 100 American users of renewable energy, and it makes pretty interesting reading. Some pretty big household names are getting all or most of their energy from renewables.
The top user was Intel, whose energy use comes 100 percent from renewables.
A few firms on the list are generating more renewable energy than they're actually using, selling the excess back to the grid. Kohl's, which ranks No. 2 on the list, generates 105 percent of what it uses. Meanwhile, Whole Foods Market (No. 4) generates 107 percent of what it uses.
Here are the top five:
Wal-Mart comes in at No. 6 on the list, despite only 3 percent of its energy usage coming from renewables. Apple — currently the world's largest firm by market cap — is at No. 8, with 92 percent of its power coming from renewables. Starbucks is getting 67 percent of its power from renewables. McDonalds is getting 30 percent. Unilever gets 100 percent. Staples is getting 106 percent.
Top government users include the Department of Energy and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which both get 12 percent of their power from renewables.
The ranking underlines that renewables are getting cheaper and cheaper because the technology is improving. That means that firms that care about sustainability — or see inherent advantages to renewable energy, like independence from the grid — can go green without hurting their bottom line.