Ebay and Israeli renewable energy firm move forward with power plant deal

Ormat could be building a Recovered Energy Generation power plant in Utah for ebay's new data center.

September 26, 2013 20:08
2 minute read.
Ebay logo

Ebay logo370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Israeli renewable energy firm Ormat Technologies Inc. will likely be providing online auction giant eBay Inc. with a 5-megawatt recovered energy generation (REG) power plant to be constructed in Utah, the companies announced on Thursday.

The firms recently signed a joint development agreement that will allow them to proceed with negotiations on a 20-year contract and then begin preliminary development of the facility. The REG power plant is slated to capture waste heat from industrial processes and transform it into electricity for eBay’s new Salt Lake City-based data center, according to Ormat.

“We commend eBay Inc.’s commitment to sustainable commerce and look forward to helping them achieve their clean energy goals,” said Yoram Bronicki, president and chief operating officer for Ormat. “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.”

Bronicki attributed the project’s development in large part to the fact that energy efficiency has lately begun to play a much larger role in the US market.

“REG offers a proven solution for clean energy to significantly improve energy efficiency to an existing facility,” he said. “These benefits directly contribute to [US] President [Barack] Obama’s national goal, set forth by Executive Order, to coordinate and strongly encourage efforts to deploy 40 gigawatts of energy efficiency in the US by the end of 2020.”

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, the company said.

The joint development agreement between eBay and Ormat was made possible by Utah legislation – which eBay supported – aimed at enabling non-utility energy consumers to buy and transmit power directly from energy developers. The law, called SB12, was passed in 2012.

Afterward, eBay initiated a structured procurement process for an external energy supplier to power its data center. Ormat was the winning bidder.

“SB12 was a critical component to identifying Ormat as a solution to our greener energy needs,” said Dean Nelson, vice president of global foundation services at eBay Inc. “This milestone points to our belief that commerce can be fundamentally more sustainable than it is today – and that eBay Inc. can be a leader in that transition.”

Nelson added that the firm intended to pursue contracts for further REG power “and to reach, and possibly surpass, our goal to source at least 8 percent of our energy from cleaner sources by 2015.”

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