Verizon powers up more renewable energy agreements

Verizon has followed through on its commitment to use more renewable energy sources by entering into four long-term agreements.

The renewable energy purchase agreements (REPAs) totaled more than 450 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity. The latest REPAs also build toward Verizon's goal of being carbon neutral in its operations.

RELATED: Verizon pledges to go carbon neutral by 2035

On Earth Day last year, Verizon announced that it would go carbon neutral by 2035 in terms of all sources of emissions owned or controlled by Verizon and all sources of emissions purchased by Verizon.

Verizon entered into two REPAs with Brookfield Renewable for an aggregate of up to 160 MW of capacity at two wind energy facilities that are being repowered. The wind energy facilities are located in New York, where Verizon has significant energy usage. Those repowered facilities are expected to be fully operational next year. The agreements have 12-year terms and "generally are expected to be financially settled," according to Verizon.

Verizon also inked two REPAs with First Solar for an aggregate of up to 296 MW of capacity from two solar facilities that are under development in the PJM Interconnection regional market that First Solar intends to power using its lowest carbon footprint solar modules. PJM is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that is part of the Eastern Interconnection grid operating an electric transmission system serving all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, according to Wikipedia.

The agreements with First Solar have 15-year terms from the start of each facility's entry into commercial operations, which is expected to happen in late 2022. Those agreements are also generally expected to be financially settled, according to Verizon.

Also on Wednesday, 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.

Early last year, 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. Verizon anticipated that a majority of the funds would be allocated within three years.

RELATED: Telefónica issues telecom sector's first 'green bond'

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.

Telecoms take on renewable energy efforts

Service providers and cloud providers have ramped up their renewable energy and green initiatives over the past few years. In June, Verizon, Infosys and Reckitt Benckiser became the first global companies to sign up for Amazon's Climate Pledge that was first announced in September.

RELATED: Verizon, other companies, sign up for Amazon and Global Optimism's 'Climate Pledge'

Amazon and Global Optimism co-founded The Climate Pledge to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change 10 years ahead of schedule. The Paris Agreement has targeted 2050 while the Climate Pledge has set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2040.

On Monday, Digital Realty announced it was increasing its use of renewable energy in its Dallas, Texas footprint via a long-term agreement for solar power. Digital Realty is purchasing solar power for the company's Dallas-area data center portfolio from Pattern Energy's 82.5 MWac Phoenix Solar Project, which is located in Fannin County, Texas. Digital Realty is under contract for 78% of the project's total capacity, approximately 65 MWac, with the remainder held by Pattern Energy Group LP, the project developer and owner.

With the addition of the new solar project, Digital Realty's entire Dallas portfolio will be powered by 70% renewable energy once the Phoenix Solar project reaches commercial operation by the middle of next year. 

While renewable energy and green projects are good for the environment, and for gaining certain tax credits, they also reduce the large powering requirements of telecommunications equipment in central offices, nodes and headends.