Tech gusts add to wind rush across U.S.

Tech gusts add to wind rush across U.S.

by ROB McMANAMY | April 9, 2015

No need to wait for summer breezes. The winds of change are already gusting this spring. This week, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced via press release, "Market Grows for Wind Energy as Leading U.S. Brands Lock in Low Prices." In it, the group previews its upcoming 2014 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Reportset for release on April 15 in Houston TX. 

"As the cost of wind energy has dropped by more than half in just five years, there has been a steady increase in U.S. businesses, governmental agencies, and universities making direct investments in wind power to lock in low prices and reduce their carbon footprints," reads AWEA's statement. Adds AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan: “Successful brands and businesses increasingly see low-cost wind power as a great value. We’re seeing an expanding market for corporate purchasers that value wind both because it is clean and offers stable electricity prices.”


Of note, FacebookGoogle, Yahoo!Microsoft and Amazon all are among the big corporate players now investing in wind energy. “Over 23 percent of the wind power contracts signed in 2014 were with corporate buyers and other non-utility groups,” notes Emily Williams, AWEA Deputy Director, Industry Data and Analysis. “This trend is a meaningful source of new demand for wind power. The private and public sectors are saying ‘We value wind power, and we want more of it!’”

In their own words, here is why some tech giants and universities are investing in wind energy:

  • Google: “Because energy is a large operating expense at Google, it is beneficial to power the data centers with low-cost wind power,” – Gary Demasi, Director of Operations, Energy and Data-center location strategy, Google;
  • Microsoft: “The Pilot Hill Wind Project is important to Microsoft because it helps solidify our commitment to taking significant action to shape our energy future by developing clean, low-cost sources to meet our energy needs…Microsoft is focused on transforming the energy supply chain for cloud services from the power plant to the chip. Long term commitments like Pilot Hill help ensure a cleaner grid to supply energy to our datacenters.” – Brian Janous, Director of Energy Strategy, Microsoft;
  • Yahoo!: “At Yahoo, we're committed to being an environmentally responsible company…Driving the development of cleaner and renewable sources of power is an important piece of our sustainability strategy… We take care in ensuring that we are an engaged member of the communities in which we live and work. This partnership is a fantastic opportunity to improve Yahoo's energy sustainability while contributing to the community in Rush County and across the region.” - Chris Page, Global Director, Energy and Sustainability Strategy, Yahoo!;
  • The Ohio State University: “Our partnership with Iberdrola Renewables and Blue Creek Wind Farm underscores our long-held commitment to sustainability and to the economic future of our state…Together, we will make Ohio State a national leader in sustainability, while investing in renewable energy produced right here in Ohio.” - E. Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State University;
  • Cornell University: “Wind is a very reliable source of renewable energy and contributes zero carbon into the atmosphere while generating electricity. As we use more wind, we reduce our dependence on carbon-produced electricity. This is a major step toward Cornell becoming a carbon neutral campus.” - KyuJung Whang, VP for Facilities Services, Cornell University
  • Harvard University: “Universities play an essential role in confronting the global challenges presented by climate change and sustainability…The research being undertaken at Harvard will have worldwide influence, but the Harvard community is also committed to searching for ways to reduce its environmental impact through changes in individual and institutional behavior, like purchasing wind power and other renewable energy, and the use of innovative technologies.” - Drew Faust, President, Harvard University.

AWEA has developed an interactive map that provides details about the recent wave of non-utility purchases. To view the full press release, click here.

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