The global hotel chain Starwood Hotels & Resorts have announced during a Caribbean summit of political and business leaders that they are to expand the use of renewable energy at Starwood properties in a new global partnership with NRG Energy Inc.
The project will commence with installation of solar energy at three properties, including a 1.3 megawatt (MW) solar array at the Westin St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands where NRG will build, own and operate the project. This will provide clean efficient power to the resort thereby helping to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and cutting down on diesel fuel imports which itself will lessen the impact of shipping on the fragile Caribbean ecosystem.
The solar arrays will be owned by NRG Energy while Starwood will be the enabling partner through a multi-year power purchase agreement. The project will also help the chain to reduce its electricity costs and will lock in predictable energy costs at an affordable level for years to come. The customized solar systems designed by NRG will integrate seamlessly with the aesthetic of each location and also enhance guests experience of each resort.
“At Starwood, we have established an environmental sustainability goal we call 30/20 by 20 meaning we’re committed to reducing our energy consumption by 30 percent and water consumption by 20 percent by 2020 throughout our global hotel and resort system” said Ken Siegel, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel for Starwood. “We are making great progress against those goals through a variety of programs in place around the world and we’re pleased to partner with NRG to be able to provide affordable and sustainable electricity that will benefit the environment, our guests and our business.”
NRG Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary, NRG Solar, is already one of the largest developers and owners of solar power in the US. It is also a major developer of solar systems for businesses. David Crane, NRG President and Chief Executive Officer, commented that in many parts of the world, including the US, locally-generated solar power is well on its way to becoming the most cost-effective, environmentally beneficial and aesthetically pleasing energy option for customer-facing businesses. Mr Crane said that company was looking forward to working with Starwood in helping the chain to expand its renewable energy installations.