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HP to double renewable energy use

Tech company HP is aiming to double its global purchases of renewable power from under four per cent this year to eight per cent by 2012.

To help meet this new goal HP has unveiled a range of renewable energy initiatives in its facilities, research and products.

HP has recently completed a 1.1MW, 6,256 solar panel system at its San Diego facility, which is projected to save the company $700,000 over the next 15 years and supply more than 10 per cent of the plant’s power. The solar power system will also reduce CO2 emissions by 30,000 tons.

SunPower installed the system and GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE that owns the system under SunPower Access, will provide the electricity under a power purchase agreement.

Wind power is also on the agenda and HP will buy almost 19.9 million kWh of wind energy from wind farms in western Texas for two of its Austin data centres. This wind power represents almost 20 per cent of the annual energy used by the two data centres.

The renewable energy theme continues into HP’s products and HP Labs, the company’s central research arm, has initiated research that uses nanowire photonics to potentially increase the efficiency of solar cells to more than 20 per cent. This development allows solar cells to operate on a level of those used in expensive deep-space applications, while being manufactured at much lower costs, like those used in pocket calculators or to recharge portable devices.

HP claims nanowire photonics may, in the future, optimise renewable energy throughout the IT industry and other business sectors.

To reduce the energy required for manufacturing and distributing products, HP also plans to reduce the energy consumption of its volume desktop and notebook PC families by 25 per cent, relative to 2005.
In 2007 HP met its goal to increase renewable energy purchases by more than 350 per cent and purchased 61.4 million kWh of renewable energy and renewable energy credits in the US.

John Frey, senior sustainability executive at HP, says:

“HP is investing in technologies that bring us closer to operating in a sustainable IT ecosystem. We are supporting renewable energy programs for our own operational efficiency, harnessing research to demonstrate environmental leadership and offering products that support customer concerns about rising energy costs.”

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