More renewable energy for our data centers

9/26/12 | 7:00:00 AM

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(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

We announced our commitment to carbon neutrality back in 2007, and since then we’ve been finding ways to power our operations with as much renewable energy as possible. In our latest step toward this end, we just signed an agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to green the energy supply to our Oklahoma data center with 48 MW of wind energy from the Canadian Hills Wind Project in Oklahoma, which is expected to come online later this year.

We’ve been working with GRDA, our local utility, to procure additional renewable energy since we “plugged in” our data center in 2011, and in February of 2012, GRDA approached us about purchasing power from Canadian Hills. In conjunction with the electricity GRDA already supplies Google to operate its data center, Google will pay GRDA a premium to purchase renewable energy generated by Canadian Hills. This brings the total amount of renewable energy for which Google has contracted to over 260 MW.

This agreement is a milestone for GRDA because it’s their first-ever wind energy project. It’s also a milestone for Google because it’s a little different from the previous Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) we’ve signed, where we agreed to buy the energy directly from the developer who built the wind farm. This agreement, by contrast, marks the first time we’ve partnered with a utility provider to increase the amount of renewable energy powering one of our data centers.

Although both options can make sense depending on the circumstances, we’re excited about this collaboration because it makes the most of our respective strengths: utilities like GRDA are best positioned to integrate renewable energy into their generation mix and to deliver power; we’re a growing company with a corporate mandate to use clean energy for our operations in a scalable way. We’ve been working closely with all of our utility partners to find ways to source renewables directly, and we look forward to working with other suppliers to deliver clean energy to our data centers.
by Gary Demasi, Director, Global Infrastructure team