Digital Realty and Facebook announce renewable data centre project
Digital Realty has announced the signing of a virtual power purchase to support Facebook's renewable energy goals at data centre facilities it leases to the social media giant.
Under the agreement, Digital Realty has executed a long-term renewable power purchase contract to secure approximately 80 megawatts of solar power capacity for Facebook.
Digital Realty has contracted with SunEnergy1, which has developed and will own and operate the solar project, to be located within Virginia Electric and Power Company territory in North Carolina. Under the terms of the agreement, all renewable energy certificates and environmental claims will be delivered to Facebook.
This agreement marks the first back-to-back utility-scale renewable energy transaction between a data centre provider landlord utilising a virtual power purchase agreement to underpin the renewable energy supply dedicated to a customer.
Digital Realty worked in partnership with Facebook to structure the transaction to align with Facebook's quality standards for new renewable energy projects within the same power grid as the data centre load.
To-date, Digital Realty has contracted for approximately 745,000 megawatt-hours of renewable generation annually through long-term power purchase agreements, avoiding approximately 525,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The environmental benefits from Digital Realty's renewable energy sourcing efforts will have an impact comparable to meeting the energy needs of 60,000 U.S. homes per year.
Digital Realty Chief Executive Officer A. William Stein said: “Our scale and position as a leader in data centre sustainability enabled us to execute this first of its kind agreement in support of Facebook's sustainability goals. Many of our customers have specific renewable energy requirements, and we work diligently to provide cost-competitive solutions tailored to their needs. We were able to take Facebook's quality standards and timeline into consideration and deliver this solution in a competitive marketplace and at a competitive price. We are very pleased to be part of the solution enabling Facebook to achieve its renewable energy goals.”
Bobby Hollis, Director of Global Energy and Site Selection at Facebook said: “Facebook is committed to supporting all of its operations with 100% renewable energy and to improving overall access to renewable markets. We are thrilled Digital Realty has entered into this agreement and hope this will serve as a model for other colocation customers seeking to support their operations with high-quality, renewable energy projects.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.