Google says buying 114-MW directly from Iowa wind farm will free up renewable energy developers for new projects.
When Google was first given the go ahead by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to buy and sell electricity in February, we knew they were planning something big in the clean energy space, we just didn't know what it would look like. Today, we're beginning to see the plan unfold.
Google announced today that it will begin a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement to buy 114 megawatts of wind energy generated at NextEra Energy Resources' Story County II facility in Iowa. The agreement, set to begin on July 30, is the first by Google Energy LLC and it allows Google to buy the renewable energy directly from its source, rather from a retailer in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs). Because Google cannot use the energy directly, it is reselling it back to the grid in the regional spot market and retiring RECs associated with the power.
"We depend upon large quantities of electricity to power Google services and want to make large actions to support renewable energy," writes Google's Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President for Operations, at the Official Google Blog. "As we continue operating with the most energy efficient data centers and working to be carbon neutral, we’re happy to also be directly purchasing energy from renewable resources."
The energy purchased in the new deal is enough to power several data centers, according to Hoelzle.
Google is in an excellent position to give the wind industry a much needed boost right now. With the capital to dive-in to long term power purchase agreements for electricity the company needs now and knows it will need more of in the future, Google believes the move will free up capital for the developer to build more wind projects.
In May, Google invested $38.8 million into two wind farms already operating in North Dakota. The three wind farms generate a total of 183.5 megawatts of electricity and are part of Google's clean energy strategy to invest directly in the research, development and deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency technologies that will ultimately make renewables cheaper than coal.
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