Steelcase will purchase all the renewable energy credits produced by a new 10 megawatt wind farm in Panhandle, Texas developed by John Deere Renewables, the wind-energy development unit of Deere & Co., for at least the first five years of its operation.
Naming rights come with the agreement. The wind farm will be named the “Wege Wind Energy Farm, provided by Steelcase” named for Peter Wege, a Michigan environmentalist and Steelcase founding family member. Steelcase is paying a premium for the RECs in order to slap their name on it, The New York Times reports.
Expect more of this kind of advertising in the future.
Bradley Johnson, John Deere’s director for business development, says that premium prices for naming rights will enable Deere to undertake projects that are too small to be economically practical. Several companies have expressed interest in naming rights.
“This is a new business model, and it could attract any brand that wants to be linked with sustainability,” Ted Rose, vice president for business development for Renewable Choice Energy, which led the transaction and serves as the marketer for the project, says in the Times article. “Imagine the G.M. wind farm, the Apple wind farm – it’s not unthinkable at all.”
The power expected to be generated by the wind farm represents approximately 20 percent of the power Steelcase facilities require in the U.S.