Equinix, Inc., the global interconnection and data centre company, has signed a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between a subsidiary of Southern Company and Equinix in which Bloom Energy fuel cells will be installed at 12 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres in the US. The project will provide a total capacity of more than 37 megawatts of power with a phased installation that begins in late 2017 through 2019.
Bloom Energy fuel cells use a proprietary solid oxide technology to generate electricity through a clean electrochemical process using air and fuel and resulting in only water and a small amount of carbon dioxide as by-products. SOx (sulfur oxides), NOx (nitrogen oxides) and other harmful smog-forming particulate emissions are virtually eliminated.
The new project builds on the pilot programme at Equinix’s Silicon Valley SV5 IBX data centre that began in 2015 and is a key milestone in the company’s corporate sustainability programme. The project is financed through Southern Company and reflects a strategic partnership between Bloom Energy and Southern Company to support on-site fuel cell solutions.
With the existing fuel cell at the SV5 IBX, and existing fuel cell installations at two IBXs acquired from Verizon this year (LA7 and NY13), the new project will bring Equinix to a total of more than 40 megawatts of fuel cell provisioned power at 15 locations.
Once installed and operational, the Equinix fuel cell project will provide power that is 20-45 percent cleaner than the equivalent utility provided natural gas powered generation. Over the lifetime of the project, this will avoid 660,000 tons of carbon emissions and save 87 billion gallons of water that would have been used by natural gas or coal-fired utility generation.
In addition to the significant sustainability impact, the project provides 24 x 7 always-on, highly reliable power optimally matched to the operational requirements of the data centre. This project will relieve the day-to-day stress on local utility providers, helping to delay new utility generation and providing electricity directly where it is needed.
Equinix recently released its second annual Corporate Sustainability Report that includes a review of progress towards Equinix’s long-term goal of using 100 percent clean and renewable energy, as well as progress toward Equinix’s other goal of growing a responsible and sustainable company. As of 2016, Equinix had achieved 56 percent renewable energy coverage worldwide.
In addition to these fuel cell initiatives, Equinix is also engaged in Power Purchase Agreements for wind energy from Oklahoma and Texas, providing a total of 225 megawatts of capacity.
Karl Strohmeyer, President, Americas, Equinix, commented: “As Equinix data centres, and the interconnection they facilitate, become increasingly critical to the infrastructure of our digital world, this fuel cell expansion is one step in lessening the overall impact of the digital economy on the planet. It enables us to serve our customers with the highest levels of performance while assisting their efforts to make their supply chain clean and efficient.”