US-based international clothing and accessories retailer Gap has signed a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Enel Green Power North America for the Aurora wind project, currently in development in North Dakota.

The latest 12-year agreement marks the largest offsite renewable contract signed by Gap and is expected to help in reaching its goal to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for its owned and operated facilities by 50% by 2020.

Gap president and chief executive officer Art Peck said: “We have a responsibility to reduce our climate impact. For Gap, being a part of the climate solution means making strategic investments in clean energy generation.

“Today we have secured a path to achieving our 2020 goal, but we must do more. I’m proud to commit to renewable energy for 100 percent of our stores, headquarters and distribution centers globally by 2030.”

Operating across the world with more than 3,300 stores, the majority of Gap’s stores are leased and located in buildings and malls owned by landlords. This limits its scope of onsite renewable energy assets execution.

Through the PPA with Enel Green Power, the company is expected to meet its renewable energy goal by combining its distributed electricity load in the US and purchase wind energy for the needs of more than 1,500 retail stores in its portfolio.

Gap to buy 90MW portion of total power generated by the wind project

The 90MW wind electricity output to be purchased by the clothing and accessory retailer from the 299MW Aurora project accounts for approximately 374GWh per year, and is expected to reduce GHG emissions equivalent to the carbon reduction of eliminating 60,000 passenger cars from the road annually.

Located in Williams and Mountrail counties in North Dakota, the Aurora wind project is expected to be operational by the end of 2020, generating approximately 1.3 TWh annually, while avoiding the emission of around 880,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.