U.S. telco giant Verizon has taken a major step forward with its high-profile $100 million green energy investment program, inking an agreement with fuel cell developer Bloom Energy to install the clean technology at three of its facilities.
The company announced earlier this year that it was to invest $100 million in converting 19 of its U.S. sites to solar and fuel cell power as part of wide-ranging efforts to cut its carbon intensity in half by 2020.
Thursday, the company confirmed that it had taken its first major step towards meeting its investment goal after signing an agreement with Bloom Energy to install solid oxide fuel cells at two call-switching centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco and a data center in San Jose.
The company said the deployment, backed by an undisclosed level of investment, would allow it to generate more than 16 million kilowatt hours of clean power in California each year.
James Gowen, Verizon's chief sustainability officer, said there was a compelling business case behind the company's ambitious plans to increasingly rely on on-site power generation.
"The ability to power our facilities and operations with our own on-site alternative energy sources helps Verizon meet our long-term sustainability goals, while also enhancing the resiliency of our networks and reliability of our services," he said in a statement. "This is more than the right thing to do for the environment; it is also the right thing to do for our customers and our business."
The company is expected to sign similar deals with solar and fuel cell developers in order to deploy clean technologies at sites in Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.
According to Verizon, when completed next year the investment will result in carbon emission savings equivalent to 15,000 metric tons a year.
The deal also represents a further boost for Bloom Energy, which has established itself as a leading provider of large-scale stationary fuel cells that provide a clean alternative to diesel generators.
The move from Verizon is the latest in a string of deals that have seen high profile tech firms on both sides of the Atlantic commit to sourcing clean energy. Most notably, BT recently announced that it would source 100 percent of its U.K. power from renewable sources, while Google, Microsoft, Facebook and a host of others have similarly stepped up their investment in renewable energy capacity.
Image credit: Bloom Energy servers/CC license by Bloom Energy/Flickr