- Yahoo has signed a 15 year wind power purchase agreement (PPA) with OwnEnergy for 23 megawatts of the 48 megawatt Alexander Wind Farm’s production.
- The estimated 100,000 megawatt-hour yearly generation will go into the Southwest Power Pool system to offset Yahoo’s Great Plains region data center power consumption.
- OwnEnergy began construction on the Alexander Wind Farm in 2013 and it is expected to go into service by the end of 2015, a timeline that qualifies the project for the $0.023 per kilowatt-hour federal production tax credit. The 2 megawatt-range turbines to be used have not yet been designated.
This Yahoo deal is similar to those for wind power signed previously by Google, Microsoft, Mars and Walmart and makes OwnEnergy the fifth wind developer to sell directly to a Fortune 100 company, according to CEO Jacob Susman.
OwnEnergy developed the project with the Bannister family farm and ranch, where a significant portion of the wind farm will be built. Securing a local partner is an essential part of OwnEnergy’s development strategy because it reduces friction with the local community, a key in attracting corporate customers like Yahoo concerned with their public profile.
The local partner strategy that OwnEnergy has employed in developing its 2,000 megawatt pipeline of 25 projects across 23 states is designed to minimize NIMBY [Not-In-My-BackYard] complaints that can discourage big companies’ financial participation, Susman said.
OwnEnergy also intentionally develops smaller projects, averaging 70 megawatts, to make it possible to attract sustainability officers like Yahoo’s Chris Page, who said it is important for Yahoo to be “an engaged member of the communities in which we live and work.”
The other 25 megawatts of the western Kansas project’s output is contracted for by the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.