Patagonia First In California To Commit To 100% Wind Energy
Enron's New Wind Project To Serve As Source
VENTURA, CA — July 6, 1998 — Patagonia, Inc., the Ventura-based outdoor clothing company, announced today it has contracted with Enron Energy Services, a subsidiary of Enron Corp., to supply renewable energy for all its California electricity needs.
This step marks Patagonia as the first company in California to commit to 100 percent wind energy. Patagonia selected Enron because of the energy service provider's intention to provide power from newly created generating capacity.
"We believe energy efficiency and clean power can create competitive advantage for us," said David Olsen, Patagonia's Chief Executive Officer. "With the environmental costs of non-renewable energy sources becoming less supportable every year, we're pleased to work with Enron to jump-start a market among corporations for new, renewable generation."
To meet the growing demand for renewable power, Enron Wind Corp. will construct a 16 megawatt wind power facility near Palm Springs. Until the plant is complete in early 1999, Enron Energy Services will supply all of Patagonia's electricity needs from qualified renewable sources in California. Once the new plant begins commercial operation, Enron Energy Services will purchase all electricity to service Patagonia from Enron Wind Corp. The contract covers all of Patagonia's 14 California facilities which use approximately one million kilowatt-hours annually.
"Enron made an early commitment to the environment by investing in the development of renewable generation," said Lou L. Pai, Chairman and CEO of Enron Energy Services. "Patagonia's decision to buy renewable power proves to any skeptic that there are companies and individuals who want to place a vote for the environment with their pocketbooks."
Earlier this year, the deregulation of California's electricity market allowed residents and businesses the opportunity to choose between electricity generated with conventional sources such as fossil fuels, nuclear fission and natural gas, and those generated with renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. Power generated by renewable sources is transmitted to end-users in the same manner as power generated with conventional sources. The electricity provided by these renewable energy sources is commonly described as "green power."
"Any step toward 100% renewable energy is significant," said Jil Zilligen, Patagonia's Director of Environmental Programs. "But of far more interest to my colleagues at Patagonia, and to the state of California for that matter, is that we are essentially supporting the construction of a new facility that will dramatically reduce the pollution associated with the electric power we use. The creation of this new capacity is key, and it's one of the main reasons we chose Enron."
"We will pay slightly more for our power in the short-term," added Zilligen. "But it's a good investment, for the company and for the environment. In the long-term, we don't believe our energy costs will increase. As more people and more companies jump into the market, it can drive the prices down. And making energy efficiency retrofits of our buildings, which we will continue doing, reduces our need for power."
Several environmental leaders noted the significance of this commitment.
"It's not surprising that Patagonia would choose to support wind energy," said David Brower, Chair of Earth Island Institute and long time advocate for clean energy. "More corporations need to follow their lead to benefit the Earth."
"Choosing to support new renewables both on the part of Patagonia and Enron makes good sense, "said John Passacantando, Executive Director of Ozone Action. "It's a choice that cleans the environment by reducing our dependence on the burning of fossil fuels. This is a real, tangible step forward in the fight to stop the effects of global warming."
Enron's wind farm will be constructed in Riverside County in Southern California and will feature 21 advanced technology Zond Z-750kW Series wind turbines, manufactured by Enron Wind Corp. Each Z-750kW Series turbine has a capacity of 750 kW and a rotor diameter of 160 feet, approximately the same size as the wing span of a DC-10 aircraft. Enron Wind Corp., a subsidiary of Enron, is a pioneer and world leader in wind power generation, providing wind turbine design and manufacturing, power plant design and development, and operation and maintenance services.
Enron is the world's leading integrated electricity and natural gas company. The company, which owns approximately $24 billion in energy related assets, produces electricity and natural gas, develops, constructs and operates energy facilities worldwide and delivers physical commodities and risk management and financial services to customers around the world. Enron's Internet address is http://www.enron.com, and the stock is traded under the ticker symbol "ENE."
Patagonia, with annual sales of $160 million, is widely known for its commitment to environmental causes. It makes fleece garments from recycled soda bottles and has abandoned pesticides by using only organic fibers in its cotton products. Its internship program allows employees to leave their jobs to work for an environmental group for up to two full months, while still receiving their regular Patagonia paycheck. The company is a leading provider of funds to grassroots environmental groups.
Patagonia has retail store locations in Santa Monica, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Francisco as well as its corporate headquarters in Ventura. The company plans to use these locations as information resource centers to further educate California power consumers about the benefits of renewable energy. A team of Patagonia employees researched green energy providers for more than a year, in anticipation of California's utility industry deregulation.
Patagonia Contact: Lu Setnicka, 805-667-4640
Enron Contact: Jennifer T. Adams, 713-853-5599