Bloomberg has agreed to purchase energy from a high-capacity solar power project planned by SunEdison to supplement the energy mix powering Bloomberg’s new data center in Orangetown, New York, a suburb on the Hudson River, north of New Jersey.
The New York-based market data and news giant has contracted for a 2.9 MW output of the future solar project. The plant is expected to generate only 5 percent of the 7 MW data center’s energy requirements, but the associated reduction in carbon emissions is estimated to be more than 11,600 metric tons over the course of the agreement, according to SunEdison. That’s equivalent to taking 6,800 cars off the road, the renewable energy company said in a statement.
Launched earlier this year, the Orangetown facility is one of three Bloomberg data centers. The company built it after its older data center in Manhattan came close to an outage as a result of flooding brought on by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Bloomberg is buying the energy through a long-term power purchase agreement with the developer – an increasingly common way to buy renewable energy for data centers, employed to a great extent by companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.
Such PPAs don’t supply energy directly to the data centers. A typical PPA provides funding to build a renewable energy project in the data center’s vicinity that will add generation capacity to the same grid that powers the data center.
The data center operator usually gets renewable energy credits equivalent to the amount of energy generated by the new plant it contracts for and uses them to offset the facility’s carbon footprint.
There are also other, more complex schemes, employed by Google’s parent company Alphabet, where the data center acts as an energy buyer and seller on the wholesale market. Most data center operators that use PPAs today, however, don’t take that route, as it requires for the operator to register a company as a utility.
SunEdison has scored much larger renewable PPAs for data centers recently. Earlier this year Equinix, one of the world’s largest data center service providers, contracted with the developer for energy from a future 150 MW solar project in an agreement expected to offset energy consumption of Equinix’s entire California data center footprint.