Wind Power Deals to Bring Equinix to 100 Percent Renewable in N. America
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Wind Power Deals to Bring Equinix to 100 Percent Renewable in N. America

Data center giant signs power purchase agreements with wind developers in Texas and Oklahoma

Equinix has signed two wind power purchase agreements which together with an earlier solar deal in California will bring enough renewable energy to the grid to offset energy consumption of its entire North American data center portfolio, the company announced Monday.

The Redwood City, California-based company, the world’s largest data center provider whose facilities house some of the internet’s most important interconnection hubs, agreed to buy energy generated by utility-scale wind farms in Oklahoma and Texas. The agreements cover 225 MW of generation capacity total.

In September, Equinix announced a 105 MW power purchase agreement with SunEdison that will provide enough solar energy to offset the power consumption of its California data centers.

These deals will ensure all energy Equinix data centers consume in North America is offset with wind and solar by the end of 2016, which is when the company expects the three plants to come online. It committed to securing renewables for 100 percent of its global data center operations earlier this year.

While it has become common for big web-scale data center operators – companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft – to strike power purchase agreements with renewable energy developers to offset the energy consumption of their massive data centers, few of Equinix’s peers, businesses that provide data center services commercially, have made efforts to address their carbon footprint. The frequently cited reasons have been lack of customer interest, higher rates on renewables, and general difficulty of procuring enough capacity to offset a typical colocation data center’s enormous load.

There are now signs, however, that at least customer interest in having their colocation footprint powered by renewable energy is growing.

Equinix’s is the largest renewable energy commitment to date by a colocation provider, signaling that this is going to become more and more important to compete in the market. Another example is Equinix’s rival and landlord Digital Realty Trust, which since last year has been offering customers premium-free renewable energy anywhere in the world for one year.

Amsterdam-based Interxion, which competes head-to-head with Equinix in Europe, has a goal of 100 percent renewable energy for all of its data centers in the region.

One of Equinix’s new power purchase agreements is with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, which is building the Rush Springs Renewable Generation Facility in Grady and Stephens counties, Oklahoma. The Equinix deal will ensure energy generated by 125 MW of the plant’s capacity will be pumped into the Southwest Power Pool regional electricity grid.

The Wake Wind Energy Facility in being built in Floyd and Crosby counties in Texas by Invenergy. Equinix has made an agreement to buy energy from 100 MW of Wake Wind’s capacity. The facility will plug into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas regional electricity grid.

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