T-Mobile plans to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2021


T-Mobile is typically known for being magenta, but today the company announced that it wants to be known for being green, too.

T-Mobile today announced that it’s stepping up its efforts to be green. This includes plans to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2021. To reach this goal, T-Mo wants to buy enough wind power annually to account for all of the electricity that it uses.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere says that moving to 100 percent renewable energy will help cut T-Mo’s energy costs by around $100 million in the next 15 years.

Also confirmed today is that T-Mobile has finalized a contract for 160 MWs from Infinity Renewables’ Solomon Forks Wind Project in Kansas. Power generation from that project is expected to begin in early 2019.

This marks T-Mobile’s second wind power deal, with the first being the Red Dirt Wind Project operated by Enel Green Power in Oklahoma, which went online in December 2017. With the power from the Red Forks Wind Power Project and the Solomon Forks Wind Project, T-Mo will get 320 MWs, which is enough to meet 60 percent of its energy needs nationwide.

Rounding out T-Mobile’s latest commitments to going green is the news that T-Mo has joined RE100. This group works with major companies like Nike, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook to help them move to renewable electricity. T-Mo will report its electricity data annually to RE100, who will report on T-Mobile’s progress.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • Christopher Hoy

    This is great news!! So does this mean every call center, cell site, and T-Mobile store?

  • ShootMeNow

    I don’t understand how buying energy from these 2 wind farms serves to power the company nationwide. Don’t they still have to pay for the power from local utilities next to their actual physical locations? How does this actually work? It seems like smoke and mirrors absent of any explanation of the process.

    • dcmanryan

      You nailed it. They will buy enough wind energy to ACCOUNT for the energy they use yearly, but in most areas their stores are still going to be powered from the grid which comes from the good ole’ coal powered power plant.

      • Nope. They can easily transmit that electricity nationwide. Why would they buy power twice?

        • dcmanryan

          They’re not buying it twice. It just goes into the grid. The point I’m trying to make is they’re not going to have a separate transformer in every small town transferring wind power hundreds of miles to power that store. My nearest town with a T-Mobile is powered 110% from coal. How is that T-Mobile going to become powered with a windmill when the entire town is powered by a coal fired power plant 50 miles away? It’s smoke and mirrors as the first poster stated. They’re buying enough renewable power for all their stores I get that, but there’s zero chance you can be 100% renewable IMO when your store is ACTUALLY powered from coal and if that plant is gone your lights go out. It all goes into the same grid, there’s no magic switch for yucky coal powered customers and cool green only powered customers in most cases. So my point is they will have enough power for all their stores, but that power is not powering each store. They will still be reliable for coal power just like the rest of us. So on paper, yes, they’ve gone green. There are many place though that are indeed 100% self sufficient on power and off the grid. Those places are the ones in my eyes that have truly gone green but they’re not spread out throughout the country like tmobile. Obviously that’s not possible for T-Mobile. So the article reads correct, they’ve bought enough renewable power for all their stores, but if you or anyone thinks they are not actually using coal power in most areas and the store is actually being powered by renewable energy you’re wrong.

      • taxandspend

        Yes, it’s all smoke and mirrors. When you buy “green” energy, they’re not actually sending it to your house. You’re getting it from the grid, just like everyone else.

      • SirStephenH

        If you put into the grid what you are taking out then it’s not that different than if you were using it directly in the first place.

        • dcmanryan

          It’s vastly different in this case. They are still relying on local power plants to provide service regardless if they are selling power back in some areas . They are still 110% using coal power but making it sound like they’re not .

    • No? Electricity can be transferred much more efficiently than it’s generated. 65% of the energy is lost during the production; only 6-10% is lost during transmission over an arbitrary distance.

      “T-Mo will get 320 MWs, which is enough to meet 60 percent of its energy needs nationwide.” (This means that T-Mo uses about 533 MW nationally.)

      Per EWEA: “The output of a wind turbine depends on the turbine’s size and the wind’s speed through the rotor. An average onshore wind turbine has a capacity of 2.5–3 MW.”

      Since T-Mo is contracting 160-320 MW, and the average turbine has a capacity of 2.5 MW at least, this effectively means that T-Mobile is contracting about 64 turbines right now (as of Dec 2017) and plans to contract 128 (as of early 2019).

      Yes, it would be slightly more efficient to produce that power closer to where it will be used, but not enough to be significant. Thanks to transformers, we can step up the voltage of AC current during transmission and use thinner wires; AC transmission is often cost-effective up to 4000km, and the cost of producing electricity is much more significant. In fact, New York often buys over 1000 MW (1 GW) of electricity from Canada. For scale, the width of the entire contiguous US landmass is about 4300km. Since the production is happening in Kansas and Oklahoma, two very central states, T-Mo can very easily transmit that power throughout the contiguous USA.

      • taxandspend

        The capacity and what the wind turbine actually generates is vastly different. If you’re lucky, it’s around 30%.

    • marque2

      You are correct. Electrons are indistinguishable. They are getting power from the local utility noatter how they pretend. Most wind power isn’t used on the grid anyway – too unstable. The power comes from the natural gas generators built as backup for the wind.

  • John Doe

    So is this just their stores and offices or also cell towers and antennas and if it is then is it only cell towers owned by them or all cell towers that they use.

  • marque2

    Of course most people don’t realize wind power is worse for the environment. But this will make all of us feel good. This might comvimcee to switch to AT&T

    • Matt Mathews

      “environment” – just say birds! oh no! a few birds will die. get over it princess

  • Philip

    The cell tower will be green too?