Internet service provider Switch announced Jan. 5 that as of Jan. 1 of this year, all of its SUPERNAP data centers and its more than 1,000 clients who are colocated at their facilities, will be powered by 100% renewable energy.
Unlike other data center providers who only purchase renewable energy credits, sometimes from several states away, in a process that many believe leans towards ‘greenwashing,’ Switch said it will be producing the renewable energy it needs to run its SUPERNAP data centers through new solar facilities operating in Nevada.
During the construction of its new 180 MW of solar projects, called Switch Station 1 and Switch Station 2, Switch has partnered with local utility NV Energy to utilize renewable energy from existing facilities in the state. Construction of Switch Station 1 and Switch Station 2 will be completed by First Solar in partnership with NV Energy and Switch before the end of 2016.
Switch said it worked closely with NV Energy and the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to develop the NV Green Energy Rider tariff for southern Nevada. The tariff utilizes NV Energy’s vast network of renewable generation resources including geothermal, wind, hydro and solar combined with Switch Station 1 and Switch Station 2 to deliver 100% green energy services to Switch 24/7.
“Switch has set a new standard for using renewable resources to power their growing business,” said NV Energy President and CEO Paul Caudill. “We all are proud to partner with Switch to help it become the first southern Nevada customer to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. Switch’s leadership has opened the door for other large customers, including the City of Las Vegas, to meet their own renewable energy goals without negatively impacting the rates of other customers.”
According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), data centers are one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the United States. The environmental group estimates that U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, or enough electricity to power all the households in New York City twice over.