Google Energy? Not quite, but Google, the undisputed king of Internet search among other technologies, is also leading when it comes to the use of renewable sources of energy. The company has a stated goal of eventually powering their entire operations using only renewable energy sources. Their most recent commitment to achieving this goal is the purchase of 100% of the power produced by a giant wind farm being built near Amarillo, Texas.
The project is being developed by Chermac Energy, a Native American-owned energy company located in Southwestern Oklahoma. When it’s completed in 2014, the wind farm is expected to produce 240 megawatts of power. This brings Google’s total wind-produced energy agreements to an impressive 540 MW of power, enough to supply 170,000 homes with power.
Although Google has a data center in Mayes County, Oklahoma, the power produced by the wind farm operation will not supply that facility directly. Rather, the energy will be put into the Southwest Power Pool that supplies the area, and Google will use the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset the need for power generated from fossil fuel plants.
According to Google’s senior manager of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy, Matt Pfile, “The structure of this agreement is similar to other commitments we’ve made in Iowa and Oklahoma. Due to the current structure of the market, we can’t consume the renewable energy produced by the wind farm directly, but the impact on our overall carbon footprint and the amount of renewable energy on the grid is the same as if we did consume it. After purchasing the renewable energy, we’ll retire the RECs and sell the energy itself to the wholesale market.”
Since 2007, Google has worked to support the use of environmentally conscious energy production and use in a number of ways. Through the use of carbon credits, renewable energy use and offsets, they have essentially eliminated their carbon footprint. In addition, the company has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy projects. They are also leading the way in efficiency of their operations by reducing energy use in their data centers to 50% of the standard model.
You can learn more about Google’s commitment to reducing their fossil fuel energy use by visiting the “Google Green” web page. At Choose Energy, we commend Google and any company that strives to reduce the cost and impact of their energy footprint. Conserving energy is a great way to save on the overall cost of energy – for everybody. Oh, and by the way, Thomas Nourse, Choose Energy’s Director of Engineering, is a former Google employee!