Environment

LEGO Deserves a Standing Ovation

Thanks to the building of a gigantic wind farm, beloved toy brand LEGO was able to announce that it had "reached its 100 percent renewable energy goal three years ahead of schedule," according to a post on energy industry site CleanTechnica.com.

The Danish maker of plastic bricks began its drive to become entirely dependent on renewable energy in 2013, and made a $900 million investment in wind power. One of these projects, the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm off the coast of Liverpool, England, opened on May 1. LEGO owns a 25 percent stake in the facility, meant to generate power for 230,000 British households.

With the wind farm's opening, LEGO hit its goal, and the company celebrated by building "the largest LEGO brick wind turbine ever." 

CleanTechnica.com ran down LEGO's commitment to renewable energy, which also includes "31.5 percent of the Borkum Riffgrund 1 offshore wind farm in Germany" along with the Burbo Bank investment. The toy-maker also intends to install 20,000 solar panels on the roof of their factory in Jiaxing, China.

With the announcement, LEGO joins a host of other major companies that are largely or entirely powered by renewable energy, or striving for that goal, according to the Climate Reality Project. 

  • Intel runs 100 percent of its American operations on clean sources.
  • Kohl's is 100 percent reliant on renewable energy, and had net zero carbon emissions between 2010-2014 (the last year data was available).
  • Target is the largest corporate installer of solar power in the United States.
  • Apple powers 100 percent of its operations in the U.S., China, and 21 other countries with renewable energy.
  • Google also intends to be 100 percent green by the end of 2017

While these companies are doing their part to reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change, it will take a much broader effort by corporations and citizens alike.

And it's an effort that the United States will likely not be led by the United States, with the Trump administration eyeing a 70 percent cut to the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Trump's budget plans to dramatically slash research into wind power, solar cells, and "clean coal," the last of which the president touted on the campaign trail. 

Even so, the clean energy companies helping power LEGO and others to 100 percent renewable status are performing well in the face of Trump's proposed cuts. It might take more work, but more companies are in line to join LEGO in relying only on renewable sources. But they probably won't make huge brick wind turbines to celebrate.