Salesforce signs for power out of West Virginia wind project

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) on Dec. 21 announced its first major renewable energy agreement, which is a 12-year wind energy agreement for 40 MW out of a new, unidentified West Virginia wind farm.

This is a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA). The electricity generated under it is expected to be 125,000 megawatt hours annually, which is more than Salesforce’s data center electricity use in its full fiscal year 2015. The wind farm is expected to be operational by December 2016 and will deliver clean energy to the same regional electricity grid that currently powers the majority of Salesforce’s data center load.

This announcement comes on the heels of Salesforce’s recent commitments to achieve net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 and eventually power 100% of its global operations with renewable energy.

“Today’s announcement is our biggest step yet toward achieving our commitment to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy,” said Mark Hawkins, the CFO of Salesforce. “This new wind farm will bring clean energy to the same regional electricity grid that serves the majority of our data center load and support a global transition to a low-carbon economy.”  

“Salesforce is one of the leaders of the corporate renewable energy movement and we are proud to see the company move into action with this wind energy agreement,” said Herve Touati, a managing director at nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute and head of the Business Renewables Center (BRC). “2015 has proven a record-setting year, with more than 3 gigawatts of wind and solar transactions signed by corporate buyers, compared to 1.2 gigawatts in 2014. Despite this incredible success, less than 20 corporations have been active in this space since its inception. This is just a start, and Salesforce should be recognized as one of the pioneers who made it happen.”

Salesforce’s multi-tenant cloud platform makes it possible to use a remarkably small number of servers as efficiently as possible. In fact, Salesforce’s core platform is 98% more carbon efficient on average than on-premises software. By moving to the cloud, Salesforce customers avoided emitting over one million tons of carbon in fiscal year 2015.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.