Facebook has this week signed a 294 megawatt (MW) Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with asset manager Luxcara and Swedish power company Vattenfall to secure the electricity generated from three wind farms located in southwest Norway to power the company’s Nordic data centers.
On Wednesday, Facebook revealed that it had signed a long-term PPA with one of Europe’s leading asset managers for renewable energy investments, Luxcara, for 100% of the electricity generated from three contiguous onshore wind farms in southwest Norway — the Gravdal, Skinansfjellet, and Eikeland-Steinsland wind farms, known collectively as the Bjerkreim cluster. At the same time, Facebook announced that Vattenfall would provide wind integration and balancing services into the electric grid that provides power to Facebook’s data centers in Odense, Denmark, and Luleå, Sweden.
“Vattenfall is very proud to have expanded its long-term cooperation with Facebook to include integrating their supply of new renewable energy into the Nordic electric grid,” said Branislav Slavic, Vice President of Business Sales Nordic at Vattenfall. “The balancing services agreement is Vattenfall’s largest agreement with an external partner in the Nordics.”
“We are excited to partner with Vattenfall on our largest European renewable project to date,” added Vince Van Son, Facebook’s Commercial Director for Energy and Infrastructure. “These projects will add wind energy to the Nordic grid providing a 100% renewable solution to our data center campuses in Odense, Denmark and Luleå, Sweden. It will also provide a renewable solution for the electricity consumed at the energy center in Odense, enabling the production of renewable heating for the community from the heat recovered at our data centre.”
This new agreement ensures that Facebook’s European data centers are all 100% powered by renewable energy. “Our Lulea data center was always supplied with 100% clean and renewable energy via local hydropower,” explained a spokesperson from Facebook. “The latest wind PPAs will provide a renewable energy solution that covers our new facility in Odense (which is still under construction). In addition, Lulea will continue to have a 100% renewable energy solution via a blend of local hydropower and the wind energy from the new PPAs.”
In addition to powering the company’s data centers, the new wind PPA will also provide support for the heat recovery system used at the energy center in Odense (seen below) which will enable the recovery of 100,000 MW-hours (MWh) of energy each year, enough to provide heating for 6,900 homes.
“The heat we recover and donate to the community district heating system needs to be elevated in temperature by heat pumps which consume electricity,” Facebook’s spokesperson explained to me. “We are including the electricity consumption of these heat pumps in the scope of our 100% clean and renewable energy solution provided by the wind energy PPAs.”
Facebook’s decision to sign this PPA will provide Luxcara the necessary long-term financial security to ensure the project’s successful development and completion, as it also comprises an aggregate investment in excess of €400 million. The three wind farms will collectively consist of 70 4.2 MW wind turbines and are expected to reach commercial operation towards the end of 2019. When completed, the 294 MW trio will generate over 1 million MWh of electricity annually.
“We are very happy to have entered into an agreement with such a strong corporate partner,” explained Dr. Alexandra von Bernstorff, Managing Partner of Luxcara. “Facebook’s engagement gives proof to Luxcara’s commitment to making renewable energy the most attractive option in every regard for our partners.”
“We are excited to partner with Luxcara on our largest European renewable energy solution to date,” added Vince Van Son. “Facebook is committed to bringing new supplies of renewable energy to the electric grid not only to support our facilities, but to encourage the growth of clean and renewable resources.”
The wind turbines will be supplied by Siemens Gamesa, which announced the contract on Thursday. Specifically, Siemens Gamesa will supply 70 of its 4.2 MW SWT-DD-130 turbines. The company also clarified the specific sizes of each of the projects — the Skinansfjellet project will boast 76 MW, the Gravdal wind farm will have 63 MW, and the Eikeland-Steinsland project will have over 155 megawatts.
“We are proud to perfectly meet the site and project specific demands of these wind farms with our highly flexible SWT-DD-130 turbines,” said Ricardo Chocarro, CEO Onshore at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. “Our technology is well suited for complex wind regimes like Norway while the experience of our regional team helps to meet all demands including challenging logistics and installation environment.”
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