US telecom giant AT&T announced on Tuesday that the company has struck a power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy trading company Vitol for 155 MW of solar electricity. The off-take deals involve 80 MW of solar energy from the Bluegrass PV plant in Queen Anne's County, Maryland, and 75 MW of solar power from the Swiftwater solar farm in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.
The solar panels for the project will provide up to 300 construction jobs in Maryland and another 300 in Pennsylvania. The solar sites are scheduled to come into operation in 2022 and 2023, respectively,
AT&T has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions throughout its global operations by 2035, and the company's network, which is its greatest source of emissions, requires electricity.
“Localized renewable energy allows businesses to own and control their emissions,” said Andrew de Pass, Vitol's Head of Renewables. “Our highly connected way of life consumes a lot of energy, so we're excited to be partnering with AT&T to help them develop sustainable energy solutions.”
According to United States Environmental Protection Agency’s report, AT&T is the seventh largest corporate buyers of renewable energy in the U.S. These new contracts with Vitol raise the company's portfolio to over 1.7 GW, equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions from more than 590,000 homes’ electricity use for a year.
“We're investing in renewable energy because it's good for the environment and good for our business,” said Joe Taylor, AT&T's vice president of global infrastructure optimization and implementation. “Deals like the ones with Vitol allow us to hedge against changes in energy costs and assist economic development in the communities we serve, in addition to reducing our environmental impact. It's a win-win-win situation.”
In 2019, AT&T purchased 500 MW of solar electricity in Texas. The deal was the largest corporate solar energy agreement in the U.S. at that time.