Rye Development, a leading U.S. hydropower developer, is pioneering a new type of renewable energy agreement that supports 24/7/365 carbon-free power for data centre operator, Iron Mountain. Rye Development will integrate power generation capabilities into existing dams that currently have no capacity to generate electricity, allowing for the creation of low-impact, clean energy sources without the need for additional disruption or the ecological impacts of new dam construction.
Unlike a typical power purchase agreement (PPA) — where a buyer agrees to purchase energy from a single renewable energy project for a set period of time — Iron Mountain has agreed to purchase up to 150 megawatts (MW) of power over the next ten years from several of Rye Development’s low-impact hydroelectric projects in the PJM wholesale electricity market.
With more than a dozen projects in the pipeline, Rye Development said that it is well-positioned to deliver reliable, clean energy to Iron Mountain’s local data centres. The offtake agreement, the first of
its kind for the hydropower industry, significantly shortens the time required to execute a clean energy PPA while providing both the buyer and seller the certainty they need to meet their business and climate goals.
“Our agreement paves the way for a new era of clean energy production in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Paul Jacob, CEO of Rye Development. “By unlocking the potential of numerous low-impact hydro projects, we can work with Iron Mountain to meet their 100 per cent, 24/7 renewable energy goals.”
“As a data centre operator, we are committed to matching local electricity use with local carbon free power generation every hour, every day,” said Mark Kidd, Iron Mountain’s EVP & global general manager of data centres and asset lifecycle management. “In addition to buying power from existing clean energy projects, we are committing to long-term power purchase agreements that result in the development of new carbon-free projects that can directly support our data centres there.”
There are more than 90,000 dams in the U.S. built for flood control, irrigation, or navigation purposes that currently have no capacity to generate electricity. Modernising these untapped resources to integrate power-generation capabilities will create low-impact, clean energy sources. According to Rye Developement, the solution is a cost-effective and environmentally sound approach to greening the grid.
Across renewable energy sources, run-of-river projects have some of the lowest lifecycle CO2 per kilowatt hour of generation. Each project that Rye Development completes seeks third-party accreditation from the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, assuring it meets their criteria for ecological flow regimes, water quality, upstream fish passage, downstream fish passage and protection, shoreline and watershed protection, threatened and endangered species protection, cultural and historic resource protection, and recreational resources.