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July 27, 2018

Sustainability Goals: Sunnyvale Goes Carbon-free

By Christopher Lonergan
Corporate Director, Quality & Reliability

At Infinera, we are committed to sustainability across the board – from designing products that save on space and power and will scale to meet bandwidth demand for years to come, to reducing our environmental impact in any way we can, both as a company and as individuals.

We recently released the Infinera Sustainability Report 2017, detailing our progress against our sustainability goals in areas including business ethics and product, environmental and social responsibility. We are proud of all our sustainability achievements in 2017, but one that we are especially excited to share is reduction in energy consumption across our locations.

Leading the charge is our Sunnyvale headquarters, where we have partnered with Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) to power our facilities with 100 percent carbon-free and 50 percent renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and hydroelectric. Steve Joesten, Senior Director of Global Site Services and Facilities at Infinera, oversaw this effort and shared more detail on exactly how it was accomplished. He says:

“Infinera was invited to attend some early meetings on the possible formation of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) for electric utilities.  The initial draw for Infinera was the prospect of 100 percent carbon-free energy and an overall lower electric cost.  As we followed up with the formation of the CCA, we participated in group discussion and signed up for its early entry program, which would grow to include 10 different cities and be called Silicon Valley Clean Energy.  We were one of the first to get the new power source in April of 2017.  This was a huge boost to achieving our goal of greenhouse gas reduction.  With our previous PG&E electric sources, we were using about 50 percent clean energy, and now we are 100 percent carbon free.  The switch to SVCE was seamless. We save about .5 cents per kilowatt-hour in our electric cost and SVCE is promising close to a 3 percent reduction in cost this year.

While Infinera and the cities being served by SVCE are now receiving 100 percent carbon-free electricity, it is good to remember that the production of this clean energy does not happen entirely in the cities being served.  We need to continue to power more of our buildings with this carbon-free electricity and move away from the major local greenhouse gas-producing natural gas.  Both residential and business need to move away from natural gas cooking, heating and water heating continue to make strides in reducing the production of greenhouse gases in our local environment.  We will focus our efforts to convert from natural gas to electricity where possible and economically feasible.  We will also continue to encourage the use of all-electric cars by providing free charging stations to those employees who drive them.”

This is just one of many sustainability goals we achieved last year. To learn more about other achievements, including philanthropic partnerships and the expansion of our environmental and safety management systems, visit our Community Social Responsibility microsite and download the Infinera Sustainability Report 2017.

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