Akamai Technologies, a content delivery network and cloud computing services provider headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has invested in a Texas wind farm as it attempts to fulfill a promise made a year ago to use renewable energy to power half of its global network operations by 2020.
Akamai announced on May 10 that the company is making a 20-year investment in the planned 80-MW Seymour Hills Wind Farm, which will be based outside of Dallas and is expected to begin operating in 2018.
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 of decarbonizing their operations.
The project is being developed by Infinity Renewables, and the plan is to construct 38 wind turbines across about 8,000 acres. Akamai said it intends to pull enough energy from the wind farm to offset its aggregate data center operations based in Texas, which account for about 7 percent of Akamai’s global power load.
“Akamai has been seeing a strong trend with customers that value and demand clean-powered, decarbonized services from their supply chains,” said company EVP Jim Benson, Akamai. “This project is one of several in which Akamai plans to invest to reach our 50 percent goal. 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.”
“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,” said Matt Langley, VP of Finance and Origination at Infinity Renewables. “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.”
“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 (BRC), 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.”
Greenpeace ranked Akamai in the top 20 percent of content delivery network 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.”