NRG Energy building 20MW solar facility for Cisco Systems
Energize Weekly, June 24, 2015
NRG Renew, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, will build a 20 megawatt (MW) solar facility to power the headquarters of tech giant Cisco Systems, according to officials at both companies.
Tom Doyle, president and CEO of NRG Renew, said that the company will convert its NRG Solar Blythe II location, which has been under development since 2010, into a solar generation facility for San Jose-based Cisco, helping the company reach its goal of using at least 25 percent of its electricity needs by 2017.
“Partnerships with industry leaders like Cisco are a key part of our vision for a clean energy future because they reinforce just how integral renewable energy is to the everyday nature of business,” said Doyle. “We are proud to work with Cisco to develop unique renewable solutions that help them reach their sustainability goals.”
The move is the latest by a tech giant to invest in clean energy to power their operations and green-up their image. Last November, Seattle-based Amazon entered a 13-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy electricity from a planned 150 MW wind farm in Benton County, Indiana to power its data centers. In February, Silicon Valley-based Google announced it was going to invest $300 million to a new fund created by solar energy company SolarCity in order to finance residential solar projects, and the company currently uses renewable sources to power 35 percent of its operations.
Cisco says that it will buy electricity from the proposed Blythe II facility under a 20-year PPA. The facility, situated in the Sonoran Desert near the California and Arizona border, is expected to produce enough carbon-free energy to power 14,000 homes and prevent 102,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, or the equivalent of removing 21,000 cars from the road.
“Enabling a diverse energy supply through low-carbon and renewable sources is key to meeting Cisco’s energy goals set forth in 2013,” said Ali Ahmed, Cisco’s Global Energy and Sustainability Leader. “We thoroughly vetted potential solutions to help us realize our sustainability goals and are thrilled to collaborate with NRG to source renewable energy and increase our use of solar power. We look forward to exploring new, innovative ways to green the power we use.”
In addition to purchasing power from the Blythe II facility, Cisco has installed 2MW of solar power at its facilities over the past two years, including for its new system in Boxborough, Massachusetts.