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Meta and Lego Family Make Deal for Arkansas Sun Power

3 min read

Meta, the company that made its name as Facebook Inc., has made a deal with the founding family of LEGO to purchase hundreds of megawatts of power from a solar energy farm under development in Cross County.

The companies did not reveal when the plant is expected to go online.

Solar developer and power plant owner Adapture Renewables Inc. of Oakland, California, announced Monday that Meta has signed three agreements to buy 330 megawatts of power from the Arkansas project and from two solar fields in Illinois. The deals are environmental attributes purchase agreements, or EAPAs, Adapture said in a news release.

Meta is one of the nation’s largest corporate users of renewable energy, and first achieved net zero emissions for its global operations in 2020. In 2021, it said it had contracts for more than 7,500 megawatts of solar and wind power around the world, and 4,900 megawatts already flowing.

Adapture Renewables estimated that the three projects to help power Meta will have a net economic impact of more than $400 million and will create about 25 operational jobs. Building the solar fields will bring an estimated 500 temporary jobs to Illinois and Arkansas.

Residents near the projects will see ongoing economic benefits, the company said.

“All three projects are situated in federally-designated energy communities where a coal facility had been closed, bringing clean energy investment, jobs and revenue to regions that have been historically dependent on fossil fuels and disproportionately burdened by pollution,” the Adapture release said.

“These solar projects represent an important milestone in continuing our commitment to sustainable operations,” said Meta’s head of renewable energy, Urvi Parekh, in a statement. “Our partnership with Adapture Renewables underscores our dedication to utilizing renewable energy to support our facilities and fostering a cleaner, greener future for all.”

Jesse Tippett, vice president of power marketing origination at Adapture, said his company was proud to make a deal with a progress-minded global company like Meta. “Working with Meta on these agreements was a delight,” Tippett said in a statement. “The Meta team was efficient and matched our dedication to scaling clean energy, bringing economic opportunities to the energy communities hosting our projects, and achieving three win-win agreements.”

Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg needs no introduction as one of the richest men in the world. Adapture is owned by KIRKBI, the private holding and investment company founded by the Kirk Kristiansen family of Denmark. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen is the former president and CEO of the Lego Group and was named the third richest Dane by Bloomberg Business in 2021. Kristiansen’s grandfather, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, was a carpenter who started making wooden toys during the Great Depression and in 1932 founded the company that became Lego. The Kristiansen family, according to Adapture’s release, is dedicated to building a sustainable future for the LEGO brand and “has the financial footing necessary to take a diligent and thoughtful approach to project development and is invested in its projects’ long-term success.”

Last month, D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments publicized a long-term solar energy off-take agreement with Meta for power from the 200-megawatt Long Lake project in Phillips County.

“We are pleased to partner with Meta on a project called Long Lake Solar in Phillips County. and now count more than 850 MWac of clean energy nationwide to support their operations,” said Hy Martin, chief development officer of DESRI.

“We appreciate the ongoing community support of Phillips County and are pleased to develop this solar facility to meet Meta’s renewable energy demand, while providing economic opportunities,” Martin said.

Acadian Renewable Energy, a joint venture between SunChase Power and Eolian, led the initial development of Long Lake.

DESRI is part of the D. E. Shaw Group of New York and has an aggregate solar and wind capacity of over 6 gigawatts, according to a company news release. It will be Long Lake’s long-term owner and operator.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Adapture Technologies’ project was located in Phillips County and was called Long Lake Solar. That’s a separate project.

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