AT&T strikes major wind power deal

The world's largest telecoms company AT&T has announced the largest corporate renewable energy purchases in the US with a deal to buy 520MW of wind power.

The agreement with NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest operator of renewable energy projects, will see 220MW of power come from a wind form in Oklahoma with the remaining 300MW supplied by a wind farm in Texas.

The projects are expected to create carbon savings equivalent to taking 350,595 passenger vehicles off the road or providing electricity for a quarter million homes a year.

“As one of the world’s largest companies, we know how we source our energy is important,” said AT&T Operations president Scott Mair.

“Many companies are focused on their own carbon footprint but we believe our industry can do more. We’ve been working for a long time to ensure our wind projects deliver for both our business and the environment. We will continue to explore renewable energy solutions to help create a better, more sustainable world.” 

As part of the deal, AT&T will sign up to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principle group, led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The coalition is made up of large energy buyers working to accelerate progress on renewable energy.

AT&T’s purchase represents a big step in the company’s goal to deliver carbon savings 10 times the footprint of its operations by 2025. To help reach this target, the telecoms giant has implemented 65,000 energy efficiency projects since 2010 and, by the end of 2016, had reduced fleet emissions by 99,000 tonnes of CO2e.

The $1.5m challenge

The telecoms industry has made good progress towards decarbonising the industry in recent times. Last week, AT&T’s rival T-Mobile signified an intention to source 100% renewable electricity by 2021, in a move that will see the company save around $100m in energy costs and join the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative.

T-Mobile has also committed $500,000 to a non-profit dedicated to clean energy initiatives. The company has since thrown down the gauntlet to AT&T and fellow telecoms giant Verizon, pledging to double the total to $1m if either follows suit by 1 June.

George Ogleby

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