On Global Wind Day, the telecommunications industry moved one step closer to being powered by renewable energy. AT&T signed a deal with a NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary for 300 megawatts (MW) of wind energy from two new Texas wind farms. This is the latest move since February, when the company announced its agreements to purchase 520 MW from two wind farms, in Oklahoma and Texas.
Green America estimates that once these changes are in place, roughly 30 percent of AT&T’s total energy will be derived from renewables. The company states that using a total of 820 MW of renewable energy is equivalent to removing 530,000 cars off the road each year. This is an important step forward for the company and the industry, and AT&T can build on this step by announcing a commitment to 100 percent clean energy with a clear timeline to reach this goal.
The telecommunications industry consumes a massive amount of energy to sustain networks and keep data centers humming. The sector is using enough electricity to power all the households in New York City. Unfortunately, the majority of this energy comes from fossil fuel sources. Green America launched our Hang Up on Fossil Fuels campaign in 2017 to urge major telecom companies to commit to 100 percent clean energy sources by 2025.
T-Mobile continues to lead the industry’s clean energy commitments, which announced its aggressive goal of 100 percent renewables by 2021 earlier this year and challenged its competitors to do the same. Unfortunately, not all industry players are taking steps forward. Verizon continues to remain silent on energy commitments while its competitors are making moves, not only shirking its stated sustainability values, but also passing up saving hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs. Despite the proven positive effects of advancing clean energy, less than two percent of Verizon’s total energy use is coming from renewable sources.