Bloom Energy and the Continuing Path to 100% Clean and Renewable Power

David Rinard


We’ve recently pledged to use 100% clean and renewable energy across our global data center platform, and we know it won’t happen overnight. But we do know it will happen. Our agreement to install biogas-fed Bloom Energy fuel cells at an Equinix data center is exciting because it marks progress toward our clean and renewables future, and for other reasons, as well.

First, Bloom Energy’s fuel cells are a cool technology, and because they are fueled with biogas, the renewable power and reduced carbon emissions benefits they offer are substantial. The project also supports Bloom Energy, which is just down the road from our Silicon Valley headquarters, and we’re eager to back a locally-based leader in the alternative energy market.

Bloom Energy’s one-megawatt biogas fuel cell project will be hosted at our SV5 data center in Silicon Valley, a short drive from Bloom Energy headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. Bloom Energy compares their solid oxide fuel cell to a “battery that always runs.” Here’s how it works: The technology generates power through an electrochemical process that uses air and fuel – in this case “biogas,” which is methane gas captured from decomposing organic matter. The only byproducts of the process are water and a small amount of carbon dioxide.

The project at SV5 will result in at least 1.6 million pounds of avoided carbon dioxide emissions from the California grid. The fuel cell will also produce an estimated 8.3 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year, which we’ll use to power a section of SV5.

Today, Equinix gets about 30% of our global energy from clean, renewable sources. The Bloom Energy fuel cell project keeps the percentage ticking upward as we head to 100%.

Our pledge to 100% clean and renewable energy was highlighted last month in the 2015 update to the Greenpeace report, “Clicking Green: A Guide to Building the Green Internet.” As the Internet continues to expand in scope, and in electricity usage, the report evaluates the companies who power the Internet on their commitment to renewable energy. It also suggests ways to improve energy efficiency and renewable use.

The report called Equinix’s commitment to use 100% clean and renewable energy “potentially a giant step forward for building a renewably powered internet,” given the breadth of Equinix’s global operations.

It also urged the industry to take note, adding that the commitment “sets an important new bar that other colocation providers will need to meet as more and more of their customers make greenhouse gas and renewable energy commitments.”

“At least for the short term, Equinix has established a clear competitive advantage,” the report said.

We recognize that our data center footprint, which covers 33 markets on five continents, requires substantial energy use. We also know there are negative impacts to a fossil-fuel based energy system, including the production of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. It’s better for everyone if we make a strong move toward a more sustainable energy future. Our Bloom Energy project and the renewable energy opportunities to come will take us closer.


David Rinard
David Rinard Sr. Director, Global Sustainability & Strategic Sourcing - Global Design & Construction Dept.