A woman enters a Hannaford supermarket in Scarborough in this 2020 file photo. Credit: Nick Schroeder / BDN

Hannaford Supermarkets on Thursday announced it will fully transition to renewable energy by 2024.

That comes as Maine moves to drastically cut carbon emissions in line with Gov. Janet Mills’ pledge to make the state carbon neutral by 2045 and as other Maine businesses, including New Balance, move to reduce their impact on the climate.

Over the past decade, the regional supermarket chain has sourced about 30 percent of its electricity from renewables through partnerships with 30 community solar projects across Maine, Massachusetts and New York. That amounts to about 86.4 million watts.

Hannaford is an energy intensive business because of its cooling and heating requirements. The supermarket chain has already installed rooftop solar panels on 10 of its stores, deployed energy efficient lighting and other changes to reduce its carbon footprint.

“Hannaford has always been serious about sustainability — and over time, it’s become an integral business function. But there is a sense of urgency as we witness the planet in the midst of a climate crisis,” said George Parmenter who leads sustainability efforts for Hannaford. “Hannaford wants to lead where we can make the most impact—and renewable energy is just another step in our journey.” 

This pledge builds upon an earlier commitment from Hannaford, a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize US, to become carbon neutral by 2040.

“Doing what’s right for our business includes doing what’s right for our associates, community, and our planet. Powering Hannaford with 100-percent renewable energy sources will make an immediate, positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mike Vail, president of Hannaford Supermarkets. “This is an important leap forward in our sustainability journey—and one that we hope sparks others to join. Prioritizing the health of our communities and the planet is a win for us all.”

Scientists warn that the window is closing on the world’s opportunity to limit the catastrophic consequences of climate change. A new study, released Wednesday, suggests there’s still time to limit the average global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era before mid-century, but even then it would represent a severe disruption to the climate, according to the Associated Press.

Peter Cooke, cofounder of the Ratio Institute, a nonprofit that promotes sustainability in food retail, said these sustainability commitments place Hannaford “light years” ahead of the supermarket industry.

The news was also applauded by Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who said it brings Maine closer to its climate goals and creating a “healthier, more equitable, and more resilient economy.”

“I hope their pledge inspires other companies to embrace renewable energy and sustainable practices. Clean energy is the future, it is necessary, and it is the key to fighting climate change,” said Pingree, the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment and vice chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.

Hannaford Supermarkets operates 184 stores in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.