British telecommunications and digital service provider BT has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a wind farm in the far North of Scotland to provide the company with 100 gigawatts (GW) of renewable electricity a year.  The agreement is worth £185 million over 15 years.

Constructed by German company BayWa and now owned by UK renewables investor Greencoat UK Wind, the 13 turbine Stroupster wind farm near Wick is the fourth to reach such an agreement with BT as part of the company’s drive to reduce its carbon emissions and energy consumption. The company already has agreements with the Fallago Rig wind farm in the Scottish Borders, Mynydd Bwllfa in Wales and another wind farm in Lancashire.

In 2012, nearly 4.7 per cent of the world's electrical energy was said to be consumed by ICT, releasing about 1.7 per cent of the total CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Since then, many digital companies have taken significant steps to offset their high consumption with renewable energy.

Rob Williams, BT’s general manager of power procurement, said the significant PPA at Stroupster underpinned BT’s long-term commitment to renewable energy. “We have been purchasing 100 per cent renewable energy in the UK since 2012," he said. "By 2020 we aim to be purchasing 100 per cent renewable electricity worldwide, so soon all of our power will come from sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat wherever we operate across the globe - where markets allow. We hope our commitment to renewable energy will encourage more consumers and businesses to make the move towards renewable energy.”

“We’re as committed to reducing our own carbon emissions as we are to providing products and services that help everyone live within the planet’s resources.”

The deal was welcomed by Scottish Renewables director of policy, Jenny Hogan: “The fact that we’re seeing more and more large companies like BT contracting most or all of their power from sources like wind, solar, hydro and biomass shows that renewable energy makes good business sense. It’s great to see firms like BT grasp this opportunity to cut carbon and stabilise their energy costs.”

Combined with EE, BT uses around one per cent of the UK’s energy to power its networks, data centres and offices. The company consumes around 2.5 TWh (Terawatt hours) of electricity each year and spends around £350 million a year on energy and fuel.