Salesforce.com Buys Texas Wind Power in Second Clean Energy Deal

  • Deals help company reach goal of using 100% renewable energy
  • CFO Mark Hawkins says buying renewables is `good econonomics'

Salesforce.com Inc. agreed to buy 24 megawatts of capacity from a wind farm that EDF Renewable Energy is developing in Texas, a deal that puts the software company on track to meeting its goal of getting all its energy from renewable sources.

Salesforce.com has a 12-year contract to purchase the power from the Salt Fork wind project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement Thursday. The deal follows a December agreement to buy 40 megawatts of capacity from a West Virginia wind farm.

Those two deals represent more power than the company used worldwide in its 2015 fiscal year, according to the statement.

A growing number of large technology companies, including Google and Microsoft Corp., are opting to buy electricity for their power-hungry data centers directly from renewable-energy developers. The strategy enables businesses to lock-in long-term fixed prices, which may be cheaper than buying energy from their local utilities, while promoting themselves as environmentally responsible.

“It’s good economics,” Salesforce.com chief financial officer Mark Hawkins said in an interview. The company didn’t disclose terms of either deal.

‘Virtual Power’

In both cases, Salesforce.com is buying the electricity through virtual power purchase agreements. The agreements let companies buy clean energy without a direct transmission line from their sites to wind or solar farms.

The Salt Fork project, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of Amarillo, will have as much as 200 megawatts of capacity when completed, according to San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy.

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