Commercial, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables, Wind - May 11, 2017 - By Amy Poszywak
Cloud services firm Akamai strikes Texas wind deal
Midmarket cloud delivery network services company Akamai on May 10 announced a new investment in an 80-MW Texas wind farm as part of its broader clean energy goals.
Through a 20-year virtual power purchase agreement, the Cambridge, Mass.-based company has committed to purchasing a portion of the electricity along with the renewable energy credits associated with the planned Seymour Hills Wind Farm once it comes online. Akamai Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability Nicola Peill-Moelter said in an email to Smart Energy Decisions that the company's offtake from the project is a minor share, matched to its annual electricity consumption of its network within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
The company's investment in the project helped its developer, Infinity Renewables, attract other offtakers and obtain financing for the wind farm, Peill-Moelter said. The project, being constructed near Dallas, is expected to come online near the end of 2018.
The investment will be used to offset the energy used for Akamai's aggregate Texas data center operations, representing approximately 7% of its global power load. The move is intended to support the company's previously announced carbon reduction commitment to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions below 2015 levels by sourcing renewable energy for 50% of its network operations by 2020.
Akamai Executive Vice President and CFO Jim Benson said in a statement that the company has seen a strong trend with its customers that value and demand clean-powered and decarbonized services from their supply chains. The Texas project represents one of several renewable energy investments the company is planning in order to reach its 50% goal, Benson said.
"Only recently have companies like Akamai with small, distributed loads, relative to big buyers like Apple, Google and Amazon, been able to make a meaningful impact on decarbonizing operations that go beyond purchasing unbundled renewable energy credits," Benson said. "We believe our innovative procurement strategy can be a model for others, and we're excited to help lead the way."
The project is being developed by and is slated to come online in 2018, according to the release. Plans for the development call for construction of 38 wind turbines across approximately 8,000 acres.
Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace recently ranked Akamai in the top 20% of cloud delivery network and data center providers in its recent "Clicking Clean" report for action on energy efficiency, renewable energy and advocacy efforts. In addition to Akamai's renewable energy goal, Greenpeace recognized that the company's distributed business model and relationships with data center operators around the world "put it in a unique position to be a catalyst for a renewably powered Internet."
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