Large internet firms such as Apple and Google are now going directly to solar power supplier and sourcing their own (renewable) energy.
According to California Clean Energy director at the Environmental Defense Fund Gavin Purchas, the trend not only gives firms like Apple access to green power, but the long term contract favoured by renewables means the firms now lock in their power costs for the next 20 years.
Apple made news earlier this year when it signed an $848-million “direct access” deal to bypass Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and buy clean energy directly from a third-party solar provider. For Apple, the big win was a contract that locked in affordable energy for the next 25 years, Pruchase wrote in a recent oped piece for Energy Manager Today.
In so doing Apple insulates itself against the price volatility – think oil prices over the last couple of years as an example – of traditional energy markets, he argued.
For Google, it was a 20-year deal to purchase half the power produced by a wind farm at Altamont Pass.
More importantly, Purchas points out that in signing extended contracts, Apple and Google are actually paying a fraction of the current price of utility power. And that’s not including the on-premise solar power systems that large enterprises are putting in place to power their facilities.