Facebook backs nation’s largest single-site wind project

Source: By Haley Weiss, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2019

Facebook, Inc., headquarters in Menlo Park, Ca. Photo credit: Facebook

Facebook has entered into an agreement to purchase renewable power from the largest single-site wind project in the United States. Facebook headquarters is pictured. Facebook, Inc.

Facebook announced a deal yesterday in Texas to buy power from the largest single-site wind farm in the country.

The power purchase agreement between the technology company Ares Infrastructure and Power and Apex Clean Energy envisions the 200-megawatt Aviator Wind East project, which is scheduled to come online in 2020 in Coke County, Texas.

“This project will be an important part of successfully reaching our targets, and we are thrilled to have the support of Ares Infrastructure and Power and Apex Clean Energy to bring this new wind energy online,” Facebook’s renewable energy manager, Urvi Parekh, said in a press release.

Facebook was the largest corporate buyer of renewables in 2018, according to a report last month from Wood Mackenzie and the American Wind Energy Association (Energywire, Aug. 21). While some corporate 100% renewable pledges have faced criticism, projects contracted by top companies last year will generate a total of 6 gigawatts of renewable energy once operational, the report said.

The Aviator East initiative will be part of a larger 525-MW project, with the capacity not used by Facebook reportedly purchased already from investor Ares by a yet-unnamed corporation, according to the companies. There are larger U.S. wind farms, but those have typically been built in phases, not in the single-phase construction planned for Aviator Wind East.

Texas has seen a surge in wind construction over the past several years: The amount of renewable capacity currently under construction measures more than a quarter of the state’s total active capacity. Another Facebook wind investment, a 397-MW deal signed in May, is also in Texas.

“The ambitious sustainability goals of corporate leaders like Facebook will play a key role in accelerating the transition to renewable energy — faster than ever anticipated — in the years to come,” said Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex, in yesterday’s announcement.

Apex is providing asset management and construction oversight for the project. It will be the company’s 11th major wind project in the United States.

Reporter Christa Marshall contributed.