Verizon is laying claim to being one of the largest corporate buyers of U.S. renewable energy after notching 13 long-term renewable energy purchase agreements (REPAs).
The REPAs accounted for nearly 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity since December 2019, including six REPAs relating to 845 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity since September of last year.
The six new agreements, like the earlier REPAs, were virtual power purchase agreements and are expected to help finance the powering of six new solar facilities that are under development.
Verizon said Thursday that the agreements were part of its ongoing efforts to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations by 2035, which is a key element of its Citizen Verizon campaign. Citizen Verizon is the telco's responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and social advancement.
Verizon recently entered into three 15-year REPAs with Invenergy for an aggregate of 525 MW of capacity. The generation will come from three solar projects: one 250 MW project located in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) regional market, and two projects totaling 275 MW located in the Pennsylvania Jersey Maryland (PJM) Interconnection regional market. All of the projects slated to be operational by the end of 2023.
Verizon also entered into a 15-year REPA with Lightsource bp for an aggregate of 152.5 MW of capacity. The facility, located in the PJM Interconnection regional market, is expected to be fully operational in late 2022.
Verizon also signed a 15-year REPA with EDF Renewables for an aggregate of 92.5 MW of capacity. The facility, located in the PJM Interconnection regional market, is also slated to go live in late 2022.
Verizon also entered into a 15-year REPA with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC for an aggregate of 75 MW of capacity. The facility, located in the PJM Interconnection regional market, is expected to be fully operational in late 2023.
Verizon’s other REPAs, which it announced earlier in 2020, related to an aggregate of more than 840 MW of renewable energy under development in Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. These REPAs, along with this year's, total nearly 1.7 GW of projected renewable energy capacity and are expected to reduce carbon emissions by an amount equivalent to removing more than 630,000 passenger vehicles from the road on an annual basis.
In addition to its REPAs, the Verizon is committed to its goal of installing an additional 24 MW of on-site green energy at its facilities by 2025.
Two years ago, Verizon issued $1 billion in green bonds, and said it planned to use the proceeds to fund various sustainability initiatives including renewable energy, green buildings, energy efficiency, and sustainable water management.
Last year, Verizon issued its Green Bond Report, which provided details on the full allocation of the nearly $1 billion of net proceeds from its first green bond. Allocations related to the green bond included $637 million to renewable energy, $319 million to green buildings, $37 million to energy efficiency and $1 million to biodiversity and conservation.
“Last year, Verizon issued its second $1 billion green bond, which will be used to fund long-term REPAs that support the construction of solar and wind facilities. These facilities will bring new renewable energy to the grids that power our networks,” said James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer and vice president, supply chain operations, in a statement. “Verizon is committed to supporting the transition to a greener grid by making substantial investments in renewable energy.”
While Verizon laid claim to being the first U.S. telecom company to issue a green bond, Spain-based Telefónica said it was the first company in the telecommunications sector to issue green bonds at the start of 2019.