EBay Inc. (EBAY), operator of the world’s biggest online marketplace, will work with Ormat Technologies Inc. (ORA) to develop a 5-megawatt waste-heat recovery plant to help provide electricity to its data center in Salt Lake City.
The plant, which will be built and operated by Ormat, will sell power directly to EBay under a 20-year contract, the Reno, Nevada based geothermal and waste heat energy developer said in a statement.
The agreement is part of EBay’s effort to get at least 8 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2015. EBay is one of a growing number of businesses that own dedicated power plants or have signed agreements to buy electricity directly from plant operators instead of utilities, often using renewable sources. The strategy provides more stable electricity costs, said Bob Sullivan, Ormat’s vice president of business development.
“It’s cleaner and provides a hedge against price swings in the cost of fossil fuels,” Sullivan said in an interview.
Ormat has built more than 160 megawatts of waste-heat recovery plants in North America. The technology is fairly mature and can utilize any nearby source of waste heat such as industry plants, gas compression or even fuel cells, Sullivan said.
“This milestone points to our belief that commerce can be fundamentally more sustainable than it is today,” Dean Nelson, vice president of global foundation services at EBay said in the statement.
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