The US state of Utah is about to become home to a new 5-megawatt recovered energy generation (REG) power plant thanks to a joint venture between online auction superstar eBay and an Israeli renewable energy firm.
In partnership with the Israeli renewable energy firm, Ormat Technologies, eBay’s REG power plant will capture waste heat from industrial processes and transform it into electricity for the online auctioneer’s new Salt Lake City-based data center.
While eBay’s new data center will rely primarily on natural gas for fuel, a portion of its energy will be drawn from this industrial waste heat that will be converted and delivered via pipeline to the facility.
The plant is slated for completion in around 18 months. Once it comes on line, eBay will have reached its goal of generating at least 8% of its energy from “cleaner” sources by 2015.
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Agreement in place, Ormat Technologies and eBay will now the terms of a 20-year contract that will allow for the preliminary development of the facility.
Ormat already has more than 160 megawatts of installed REG capacity already operating in North America, and a total of 595 megawatts operating around the world.
Ormat's REG power plants capture waste heat that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere and convert that heat into energy using an Ormat Energy Converter, similar to those used in geothermal electricity generation
Yoram Bronicki, president and chief operating officer for Ormat, based in Reno, said that the company “commend eBay Inc.’s commitment to sustainable commerce and look forward to helping them achieve their clean energy goals. We’re hopeful that our work with eBay Inc. will continue to promote REG as a predictable, environmentally friendly energy source that provides a hedge against the variability of fossil fuel costs.”
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For eBay, this was also a bit of a legislative coup. Based on this deal, the State of Utah passed legislation making it possible for Ormat to feed converted waste heat into eBay’s data facility and enabling non-utility consumers to buy and transmit power directly from energy developers. Most US states require non-utility consumers to get power the grid.
This puts eBay a step ahead of Google, which has to sell energy generated by wind farms it invests in around the country on the wholesale market and then buy grid energy to power its data centers.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com