The move is the latest in a number of similar purchases in recent years as AT&T pushes towards its goals of carbon neutrality by 2035

AT&T has announced two new virtual power purchase agreements with Dutch energy and commodities trader Vitol, buying 155MW of capacity at two upcoming solar plants. 

According to the operator, 80MW of capacity will come from the Bluegrass project in Maryland, while the other 75MW will come from the Swiftwater project in Pennsylvania. These sites are expected to be operational in 2022 and 2023, respectively, reportedly creating up to 300 new jobs for the local areas.

“In addition to reducing our emissions footprint, deals like the ones with Vitol allow us to hedge against changes in energy costs and support economic development in communities we serve. It’s a win-win-win,” said AT&T’s vice president of global infrastructure optimisation and implementation, Joe Taylor.

Back in 2020, AT&T announced it would purchase 500MW of power output from Invenergy’s planned Samson Solar Energy Center in Texas. At the time, AT&T said the deal was the largest solar deal ever in the US.

In total, AT&T now has access to 1.7 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity through power purchase agreements. 

Naturally, energy usage is the operator’s largest source of CO2 emissions, so building more efficient networks and fuelling them with renewable energy are at the heart of AT&T’s goals of reaching carbon neutrality by 2035. Verizon is similarly aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2035, while T-Mobile is aiming to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 95% by 2025, using 2016 as the base year. 

T-Mobile also announced last year that they had already sourced renewable energy equivalent to 100% of their total electricity usage, meeting a goal they had set back in 2018.

In related news, earlier this week AT&T’s rival Verizon announced that it had allocated the roughly $1 billion in funding raised from its latest Green Bond, covering around 910MW in renewable energy purchase agreements. Since the end of 2019, the company claims to have signed over 20 such agreements, purchasing roughly 2.6 gigawatts in renewable energy production capacity.


Are operators doing enough to make the telecoms sector more environmentally friendly? Find out the latest news in telco sustainability at this year’s Total Telecom Congress 

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