HP joins Amazon, Google, Apple on quest for renewables

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Another tech company has decided to jump into the renewable game. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is the latest to announce a wind farm to help power their buildings.

Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune in 2008. Credit: Slick-o-bot/Wikimedia Commons

HP has signed a 12-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SunEdison for 112 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. The wind power will power 100 percent of the company’s data centers in Texas.

According to HP, their goal originally aimed to reduce total operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent of 2010 levels by 2020. But the agreement will allow the company to reach that reduction goal by the end of 2015 — five years ahead of schedule.

“This agreement is part of our ongoing efforts to reduce our carbon footprint across our operations, within our supply chain, and in our product portfolio,” HP spokesperson Justine Gananian told FierceEnergy.

HP’s Texas data centers support entire internal global information technology requirements in their five data centers, located in Houston, Hockley, Plano, and two in Austin.

“This agreement represents the latest step we are taking on HP’s journey to reduce our carbon footprint across our entire value chain, while creating a stronger, more resilient company and a sustainable world,” said Gabi Zedlmayer, vice president and chief progress officer, Corporate Affairs, HP. “It’s an important milestone in driving HP Living Progress as we work to create a better future for everyone through our actions and innovations.”

The announcement signifies the first utility-scale renewable energy purchase by HP. The partnership has allowed SunEdison to begin construction on their 300 MW South Plains II wind farm in Texas.

“Wind generated electricity represents a good business opportunity for Texas and for HP,” said Paul Gaynor, executive vice president, Americas and EMEA, SunEdison. “By powering their data centers with renewable energy, HP is taking an important step toward a clean energy future while lowering their operating costs. At the same time, HP’s commitment allows us to build this project which creates valuable local jobs and ensures Texan electricity customers get cost-effective energy.”

According to Gananian, there were several factors to the Texas site being chosen for the project, “among those being the fact that many of our data centers are located in Texas, so it made sense to stay local to our sites. After looking at the availability of various renewable resources, we decided that the strong winds in Texas made an investment in wind power a smart decision — both for business and for the environment.”

HP joins other tech giants to use renewables to power their facilities.

Last week, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) announced a new 208 MW wind farm that would power current and future AWS data centers. Earlier this month, Facebook also announced plans to power a new data center in Fort Worth, Texas with 100 percent renewable energy — from the nearby 204 MW Shannon Wind Farm.

In February, Google announced a longterm agreement to purchase wind energy to power their Mountain View, California headquarters. The project, a partnership with NextEra Energy, will bring 43 MW from 370 turbines at a Bay Area wind farm into the California grid.

A few days after Google’s announcement in February, Apple also announced plans to power their European data centers with 100 percent renewable energy. The company said they directly employ 18,300 people across 19 countries in Europe, but also supports nearly 700,000 jobs on the continent.

HP said they are happy to join that group of tech giants thinking about the environment, and how they are impacting the world.

“We believe that using renewable energy sources at our facilities reduces the consumption of natural resources, while providing a hedge against rising fossil fuel prices. It also makes more of the renewable energy in the grid available to others, including our customers and partners,” Gananian told FierceEnergy. “This project is not a direct response to the actions of other companies, but we applaud the efforts of companies like Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, which like HP, are embracing the use of renewables within their operations.”

Although many companies are investing in renewable energy, the biggest names in tech are leading the way to show that nothing less than 100 percent renewable energy is acceptable.

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