Digital Realty is offering its customers in Chicago and Ashburn the option to purchase renewable energy, having signed contracts with two US utilities, to commence early next year.

Leeward Renewable Energy will supply Digital Realty with up to 276,000MWh of wind power a year, for six Chicago data centers; and for its 14 facilities in Ashburn, the wholesale data center provider will buy up to 48,000MWh worth of solar power annually from SunEnergy1. 

Green is in vogue

Digital Realty's Santa Clara facility
Digital Realty’s Santa Clara facility – Digital Realty

Digital Realty says the move will increase its renewable energy supply by 80 percent and help avoid discharging up to 515,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, compared to its current emissions.

“We are committed to minimizing the impact of our operations on the environment, and to supplying our customers the sustainable solutions they want,”  said William Stein, the company’s CEO.

“With these two new agreements, we have meaningfully expanded our renewable offerings to customers, further strengthening our ability to meet the rising demand for clean energy.”

With the environmental impact of data centers increasingly scrutinized, more than a few providers have taken steps to reduce their carbon emissions. Apple reached 100 percent green energy across all its data centers in 2013, mostly through power purchasing agreements, but also by building its own solar infrastructure.

Last year, Microsoft stated it wanted to move towards directly provisioning green energy rather than purchasing credits, and recently pledged to reduce its operational emissions by 75 percent before 2030, promptly signing renewable deals with GE and Dutch utility Nuon in the following months.

Last year, Google said it hoped to run on 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2017 - according to a recent tweet, the company is on track to achieve this goal.