Social media company, Facebook has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Apex Clean Energy for a 170-MW portion of the 300-MW Lincoln Land Wind project in Illinois. Located in Morgan County, Illinois, the 300 MW Lincoln Land Wind project will supply Facebook in the US when it enters its operational phase in 2021. Apex Clean Energy anticipates announcing an off-take contract for the remaining 130 MW of capacity at a later date.

The 300-MW project is seen to generate some $65 million in local tax revenue and $90 million in payments to landowners. During construction, it would employ almost 400 people and then provide nine long-term local operations jobs.

Apex Clean Energy president and CEO Mark Goodwin said: “The clean energy industry has long recognised Facebook as a leader. In its early commitment to utilising 100% renewable energy, and now its continuing work to fulfil that pledge, Facebook has led from the front of the pack.”

“Apex has a strong track record in enabling corporate clean energy procurement, and we’re excited that the Lincoln Land Wind PPA results in Facebook becoming our largest partner to date.”

This is Facebook’s third renewable energy transaction with Apex Clean Energy in the past year in addition to the 61.6-MW PPA tied to Altavista Solar and the 200-MW contract involving Aviator Wind East. Facebook is pursuing its goal of supporting its regional operations with 100 per cent renewables and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent.

Facebook Renewable Energy head Urvi Parekh said: “We are thrilled to partner with Apex once again to bring an additional 170 MW of new renewable energy to the grid. At Facebook, we are committed to not only supporting our operations with 100% renewable energy but to helping accelerate the transition to renewable energy. With our recent announcement of our new data centre in DeKalb, we are excited to bring renewable energy to Illinois.” Once completed, the wind facility will help Facebook to support its operations in the region with renewable energy, while reducing 75 per cent greenhouse gas emissions. With this latest PPA agreement, Facebook has become Apex’s largest corporate customer in terms of capacity.

REGlobal’s Views: Now more than ever, businesses need to think not only about managing their operational impact but about working with others to leverage their technical strengths and address sustainability challenges. In this regard, Facebook is setting a good example by working speedily towards its sustainable energy goals.