Akamai Technologies, one of the largest Cloud-delivery platforms, has invested in a wind farm as part of its commitment to source renewable energy for 50% of its global network operations by 2020. The 20-year investment places Akamai at the forefront of an emerging trend in which mid-market corporations are investing in renewable energy projects as a means to decarbonize their operations.
Akamai intends to source enough energy from the 80-MW Seymour Hills Wind Farm to offset its aggregate Texas data center operations, representing approximately 7% of its global power load. Based outside of Dallas and developed by Infinity Renewables, the project is slated to go online in 2018.
Plans for the development call for construction of 38 wind turbines across approximately 8,000 acres.
“Akamai has been seeing a strong trend with customers that value and demand clean-powered, decarbonized services from their supply chains,” said Jim Benson, Akamai EVP and CFO. “This project is one of several in which Akamai plans to invest to reach our 50% goal.”
Benson added that 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. “We believe our innovative procurement strategy can be a model for others, and we’re excited to help lead the way.”
Matt Langley, VP of Finance and Origination at Infinity Renewables, agreed. “Corporate buyers have become a very important market for the growth of utility-scale renewable energy deployment, having overtaken electric utilities in gigawatts purchased in 2015,” he said. “We predict that minor energy off-takers, like Akamai, represent the next big wave of corporate buyers, and we are eager to partner with them.”
Greenpeace ranked Akamai in the top 20% of CDN 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.”
“Mid-market corporate buyers like Akamai represent a huge opportunity to significantly expand private procurement of renewable energy,” said Lily Donge, Principal at Business Renewables Center, Rocky Mountain Institute. “As an early mover, Akamai is leading the way for other organizations to invest in renewables and demonstrating the value of BRC’s mission to make that process as easy as possible through best practices, guides and educational programs and convenings.”