Ørsted, a prominent US clean energy developer, has officially inked an 80MW power purchase agreement (PPA) with Bloomberg for the renewable energy harnessed from the Mockingbird Solar Center.

Situated near Paris, Texas, this 471MW project is presently in the construction phase. Notably, this marks Ørsted’s largest solar venture in the US and represents the company’s inaugural initiative integrating conservation efforts to safeguard the native tallgrass prairie.

Bloomberg is among the quartet of corporate clients committed to procuring power from the Mockingbird Solar Center, alongside Covestro and Royal DSM. With this agreement, the Mockingbird project achieves full contractual status for its 471MW capacity.

In 2016, Bloomberg became a member of the RE100, a worldwide corporate initiative consisting of companies dedicated to procuring 100% of their electricity from renewable sources.

As of 2022, Bloomberg reported securing 192,533 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy from 11 projects, constituting 54.6% of the company’s globally purchased electricity.

With the inclusion of renewable energy from the Mockingbird Solar Center, Bloomberg anticipates covering the entirety of its US electricity consumption and 80% of its global electricity usage.

A distinctive aspect of the Mockingbird Solar Center is the collaborative agreement between Ørsted and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to safeguard approximately 1,000 acres of rare, native tallgrass prairie adjacent to the project.

Ørsted has acquired more than half of the Smiley-Woodfin National Prairie Grassland and plans to contribute the land to The Nature Conservancy upon the operationalisation of the project. This conservation initiative underscores Ørsted’s commitment to environmental preservation and the integration of sustainable practices in its renewable energy projects.

Ørsted Americas Head of Origination Monica Testa said: “Ørsted’s commitment to the responsible development of clean energy at Mockingbird Solar Center demonstrates that conservation and clean energy can coexist.

“We’re proud to partner with Bloomberg in support of their sustainability goals and thrilled to see companies continue to prioritize the responsible development of clean energy in line with nature.”

The significance of this conservation programme is underscored by the alarming decline of tallgrass prairies in Texas, with less than one percent of the original prairies surviving today and less than five percent remaining nationwide. The Ørsted-TNC collaboration stands out as the largest preservation effort recorded for this native prairie type and marks Ørsted’s inaugural biodiversity initiative in the United States.

Beyond its environmental impact, the Mockingbird Solar Center has made substantial contributions to the local economy. It is poised to generate enduring revenue for local school districts and the county. During peak construction, the project has created 500 jobs, and it is projected to inject $215m into the local economy over its operational lifespan.

This initiative adds to Ørsted’s existing presence in Texas, encompassing 12 wind, solar, and storage projects either operational or under construction throughout the state, reflecting a substantial investment of over $3 billion in the Lone Star State.

The agreement between Ørsted and Bloomberg represents a significant stride in furthering Bloomberg’s climate commitments aimed at reducing the company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in alignment with a 1.5°C future. Bloomberg’s climate goals encompass both near and long-term science-based emissions reduction targets, which have been validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Additionally, Bloomberg has made a commitment under the RE100 initiative, pledging to secure 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025. This agreement with Ørsted, coupled with Bloomberg’s broader sustainability initiatives, underscores the company’s dedication to combating climate change and transitioning toward a more sustainable and low-carbon future.