Tech giant Intel remains our nation's single-largest purchaser of green power -- defined as energy generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas and low-impact hydropower
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's national Green Power 50 list, The company is purchasing upwards of 1.4 billion kilowatt hours of alternative energy, which is slightly more than half of its total power consumption needs. Almost all of what it buys comes in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs), and one of its biggest energy partners in this regard is Sterling Planet. (This company also works closely with PepsiCo, which is No. 3 on the EPA's list.)
I have some misgivings about RECs, frankly, because some companies use them as a copout for not doing anything else meaningful to cut power consumption. But this definitely isn't the case with Intel. The company has cut approximately 600 million kilowatt hours out of its usage over the past 9 years. It is also planning eight new solar installations this year in four different states (Arizona, California, New Mexico and Oregon), which it anticipates will generate approximately 2.5 megawatts of clean solar energy.
Here's a schematic of the planned installation in Santa Clara, Calif.:
This are not small installations: Intel says that any one of the new projects would be among the 10th largest in its respective region. The 1-megawatt solar farm planned for Folson, Calif., for example, will span nearly six acres of land. All of the installations are scheduled to be completed within the next seven months.
Incidentally, Dell and Cisco Systems were also among the Top 10 list of largest Green Power purchasers. Dell accounted for 431 million kilowatt hours in renewable energy purchases last year (MORE than its annual consumption) and Cisco accounted for about 400 million kilowatt hours (46 percent of its total energy usage).