Iron Mountain data center biz is now 100% renewable energy powered - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Finance, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  April 3, 2017 - By Amy Poszywak

Iron Mountain data centers now 100% wind powered

Storage and information management services company Iron Mountain Inc. has a new selling point for its data center customers: That business is now 100% powered by renewable energy. 

The company, which has also made significant strides to increase its overall use of renewable energy, said the electric load of its data centers across three states is being served by power generated from a wind farm in Ringer Hill, Penn. Under a previously announced 15-year wind power purchase agreement, or PPA, Iron Mountain is using approximately 25 MW of the facility's total output of 40 MW. 

The company said in an April 3 news release that the shift to wind power helps reduce Iron Mountain's environmental impact and operating cost, while also delivering long-term utility price stability and a carbon-neutral solution for its data center customers.

"One of the first challenges of our sustainable energy strategy is finding ways to beat the conventional wisdom that growing our business means bigger environmental impacts," said Kevin Hagen, director of corporate responsibility at Iron Mountain. "Our renewable energy initiatives are a great example of adopting innovative ways to serve customers with better, financially attractive solutions that can reduce our climate and environmental impacts at the same time."

Hagen told Smart Energy Decisions that the announcement is "a cool next step" in Iron Mountain's energy strategy, which has been rapidly evolving with aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. As Iron Mountain began to see how its investments in renewable energy were helping to reduce energy price volatility and lower its carbon emissions, the company realized that those benefits could be leveraged to help its customers, too, Hagen said. 

"Solving our own environmental and social challenges gives us the opportunity to see a customer challenge in a new way," Hagen told Smart Energy Decisions. "They have the same problem, and now we can help solve it for them through our climate-neutral data centers." 

Separately, Iron Mountain in January announced the signing of a new renewable energy supply agreement to fulfill a portion of the electrical load for its Texas operations.  It is also buying 10% of the output from the 253-MW Amazon Wind Farm Texas through a PPA, and maintains ongoing investments in solar projects throughout the U.S. and Canada. Altogether, the company expects renewable energy to account for two-thirds of its total North American electricity load by 2018. 

Combined, Iron Mountain says its commitments to wind and solar power make the company one of the top 25 buyers of renewable energy among the Fortune 1000 and a top 70 energy buyer in the U.S. EPA's Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program that encourages the organizational procurement of sustainable power.  The company is also pursuing energy efficiency measures across its entire business and has pledged to reduce data center energy intensity by 20% over a ten-year period through the U.S. DOE's Better Buildings Challenge. 

"As our data center business grows, we're always looking at how best to address power considering it’s the largest operational cost and environmental concern," Mark Kidd, senior vice president and general manager, Iron Mountain Data Centers, said in a statement. "Locking in a long-term, reliable and renewable energy supply ensures price stability and cost control, delivering savings back to both Iron Mountain and our customers." 

Editor's note: Both the Green Power Partnership and Better Buildings Challenge initiatives are Smart Energy Decisions content partners. 

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