A Sandy business has become the first large company in the state to commit to purchase only renewable energy to power its facility.

BD Medical, a global medical technology firm, said Tuesday that it would buy approximately 3.09 million kilowatt hours of renewable wind energy each month to power its 600,000-square-foot facility, beginning next month. Rocky Mountain Power said the energy purchase, obtained through the utility's Blue Sky program, would be the equivalent of 100 percent of the Sandy facility's electricity use.

"To put this into proper perspective, BD's Blue Sky renewable energy purchase will be equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by about 48,120 average Utah households over the course of one year," said Rocky Mountain Power president Richard Walje.

BD's Blue Sky purchase will reduce the facility's carbon emission by approximately 37,060 tons per year, while providing annual environmental benefits equivalent to driving 79.4 million fewer miles or planting 14,558 acres of trees, he added.

Rocky Mountain Power offers Blue Sky renewable energy purchased in 100-kilowatt-hour blocks to its customers for an additional $1.95 per block on their monthly bill. Business customers can buy Blue Sky blocks in bulk at a discount.

Enrollment in the program is voluntary, and customers can increase their participation or withdraw from the program at any time. Rocky Mountain Power does not benefit financially from the program.

Cal Alexander, BD's vice president of operations at the Sandy facility, said the company began its effort to purchase renewable energy two years ago by implementing a goal of 15 percent of its overall use by the end of this year. The company then decided to significantly increase its renewable energy use.

The cost to implement the program fully would be about $300,000 each year, but that amount would be recouped over the next few years through energy cost savings and increased efficiencies employed throughout their operation, Alexander said.

"It's a natural progression of things for us to move into the area of renewable energy, especially given what's going on in the world today," he said.

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