Nowadays, having an environmentally friendly reputation has become important to corporations. Hence, Disney hopes to significantly cut its greenhouse gas emission by 50% from the 2012 level before 2020, across the globe.
To attain this target, Disney has fervently developed its renewable energy source by building a 50-megawatt solar power plant in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, United States. This new solar power facility will be located near Disney's Animal Kingdom. Taking up 270 acres, this complex will consist of 518,000 solar panels. This new Animal Kingdom power plant is expected to be connected to the grid by the end of 2018, and provide electricity to local grid directly. It can power about 10,000 residential households per year. With this new plant, Disney estimates that it can lower the company's annual carbon emission by 57,000 metric tons, equal to reducing 9,300 vehicles from the roads every year.
Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products, said that in Disney's parks around the globe, the company will continue to invest in advanced technologies to move down its environmental footprint.
The Animal Kingdom solar power plant was not a first for Disney. In April 2016, near Epcot theme park of Disney in Florida, a 5 MW solar power facility with 48,000 solar panels was built. It is called Disney's Mickey Mouse solar farm, or "Hidden Mickey," because its panels are arranged in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head. With the combination of the 50MW and 5MW solar farms, 25% of Florida Disney World's power demand can be met.
In 2016, a solar system was constructed for Disney California Adventure Park. This solar system uses 1,400 high-efficiency solar panels to generate electricity for the Park.
Disney's green energy plans do not only cover the U.S., but also other overseas theme parks and related facilities. For example, in Tokyo, Japan, Disneyland's electrical parade is powered by solar panels on Disney's eight building rooftops inside the Park. The total power it can provide is 600 KW.
In Disneyland Paris, geothermal energy powers two theme parks and a hotel.
At Shanghai Disney Resort, a heating and cooling plant converts waste heat into electricity and reduced carbon emissions by 60 %.
Disney has been building three new cruise ships that will run on natural gas. Each of them will be launched in 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively. Disney pointed out that in 2017, the firm's global carbon emission dropped by 41% from the 2012 levels. The Walt Disney Company aims to cut emission by 50% worldwide before 2020.
Consumers are increasingly favoring enterprises whose renewable energy shares are higher and who adopt sustainable materials in their products. According to a survey from the public relation and marketing agency, Cone Communications, in 2017, if a company is more responsible to the environment and society than other companies, then 79% of consumers tend to purchase the firm's products.
Disney's vice president of the Animals, Science and Environment Team, Dr. Mark Penning, stated that "Our guests tell us the environment is important, so it's a big deal for us, not just for creating incredible (entertainment) content, but for being a responsible citizen of the world."
Gregory Wetstone, chief executive of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), explained that Disney has been a crucial driven force to change the national power grid. 5 years ago, very few companies will actively develop their green energy plan. In comparison, now the majority of the giant companies know how to carry out such a green power endeavor.
(Image credit: Travis Wise via Flickr CC BY 2.0. Article by Daisy Chuang)