Apple, Akamai, Etsy and Swiss Re recently announced an agreement to develop two new wind and solar energy farms in Illinois and Virginia. Spearheaded by Apple, the new projects will generate 290 megawatts to the PJM electric grid serving much of the Eastern United States, including areas of Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. The two new projects will provide enough power for 74,000 homes and will support each of the companies’ operations.
Akamai, Etsy and Swiss Re previously had limited opportunity to access large renewable energy projects in the regions covered by the 13-state PJM wholesale electric market. By collaborating with Apple, these companies were able to access wind and solar power from the new projects at competitive prices and agreement terms. Collaborations like this accelerate the pace at which new renewable energy generation is built and brought online.
The group, with technical assistance from 3Degrees, will collectively purchase 125 megawatts from a wind farm near Chicago and 165 megawatts from a solar PV project outside Fredericksburg, Virginia, which will be delivered to the electric grid covered by the PJM wholesale electric market. The projects are expected to come online over the next two years. The solar and wind projects will be developed by sPower (an AES and AIMCo company) and Geronimo Energy, respectively.
“At Apple, we’re proud to power all of our operations around the world with 100% renewable energy,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “In the process, we’ve charted a course for other companies and organizations to purchase renewable energy and transition their own operations to greener power. The collaboration announced today shows how companies of all sizes can address climate change by coming together.”
“Etsy is excited to be a part of a project that will benefit both the planet and our customers,” said Rachel Glaser, Etsy Chief Financial Officer. “This agreement will help Etsy to meet our goal of powering operations with 100% renewable electricity while also innovating by paving the way for small companies to participate in the renewable energy market.”
“We are proud to be partnering with these corporate leaders to accelerate renewable energy adoption. For Akamai, this collaboration was critical in closing these deals; and, in conjunction with our Texas wind project signed last year, we are on target to achieve our 2020 global renewable energy goal,” said Jim Benson, Akamai EVP and CFO.
“As a leader in mitigating climate risk, Swiss Re aims to reduce its carbon footprint and support renewable energy, which is why we’re so happy to be part of this collaboration,” said Brian Beebe, Head of Origination North America, Weather and Energy, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. “We also hope to speed up the adoption of these clean technologies through Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ innovative insurance products, which help owners of wind and solar assets decrease cash flow uncertainty.”
Just one year ago, Apple announced that a stretch of farmland about 20 miles west of Des Moines, Iowa, will be the site of a new Apple data center powered entirely by renewable energy. The company is investing $1.375 billion in constructing a facility in Waukee, including purchasing 2,000 acres of land in the area.
Like all of Apple’s data centers worldwide, the one in Waukee will run on 100% renewable energy — a goal the company reached in 2013. In June, the company announced a $921 million data center project in Denmark. Apple plans to work with local partners in Iowa to invest in renewable energy projects from wind and other sources for the Waukee facility, according to their press release.