Commercial, Distributed Energy Resources, Industrial, Utilities, Commercial, Distributed Generation, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  August 16, 2017

Equinix signs on for massive fuel cell deployment

Photo of Bloom Energy fuel cells deployed on the Equinix Great Oaks campus in Silicon Valley, Calif. 

Global interconnection and data center company Equinix announced Aug. 16 the signing of a power purchase agreement for the deployment of behind the meter fuel cells at 12 sites across the U.S. 

The 15-year PPA with a Southern Co. subsidiary includes the installation of Bloom Energy fuel cells totaling more than 37 MW beginning in late 2017 through 2019, according to a news release. In embracing the technology, Equinix became the second large corporate customer to adopt the solution being offered through a strategic partnership between Southern and Bloom to support onsite fuel cell distribution; Home Depot in October announced plans to deploy the solution at about 60 of its U.S. retail stores. 

Equinix said the fuel cells will be installed at seven Equinix International Business Exchange data centers in Silicon Valley, three in the New York area and two in the Los Angeles area, building on a pilot program it began in 2015. The data center company said the investment represents a milestone in its corporate sustainability program. 

Coupled with existing fuel cells at three other data centers, the new deal brings Equinix's total to more than 40 MW of fuel cell provisioned power at 15 locations, according to the release. The deployment is expected to provide power that is 20% to 40% cleaner than the equivalent utility provided natural gas powered generation. 

In addition to its fuel cell initiative, Equinix is also engaged in power purchase agreements for wind energy from Oklahoma and Texas, providing a total of 225 MW of capacity.

"As Equinix data centers, and the interconnection they facilitate, become increasingly critical to the infrastructure of our digital world, this fuel cell expansion is one step in lessening the overall impact of the digital economy on the planet," Karl Strohmeyer, President of Equinix Americas said in a statement. "It enables us to serve our customers with the highest levels of performance while assisting their efforts to make their supply chain clean and efficient."

Bloom Energy, Southern Co. and its recently acquired subsidiary PowerSecure on Oct. 25, 2016, announced the strategic alliance that includes project investment and joint technology development to provide behind-the-meter energy solutions, including the Bloom fuel cell-plus-PowerSecure storage solution being deployed by The Home Depot. 

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