Google Gets Greener, Buys Wind Generated Energy

Three years ago, Google Inc. said that it intended to become carbon neutral by reducing its energy consumption, investing in renewable energy sources and purchasing carbon offsets for the emissions it couldn't reduce directly.

The search giant said that it has followed through on its plan by building energy efficient data centers, constructing a large solar power installation at its facility in Mountain View, CA, and buying carbon offsets for the emissions it can't eliminate.

Now, along those same eco-friendly and energy efficient lines, Google said that it has entered into a 20-year agreement to purchase clean energy from 114 megawatts of wind generation at the NextEra Energy Resources Story County II facility in Iowa, according to a blog post by Urs Hoelzle, Google vice president, operations, who, in June 2007, also blogged about Google's carbon neutral pledge.

The Iowa wind farm began operations in December 2009. Its parent company, NextEra Energy Inc., posted 2009 revenue of $15 billion and employs 15,000 people in 27 states and Canada.

In a blog post, Hoelzle wrote that "incorporating such a large amount of wind power into our portfolio is tricky but this power is enough to supply several data centers."

Renewable energy developers typically are hampered by a lack of funding, prompting Google to commit to purchase a large amount of energy for an extended period of time, offering some financial certainty to the deal, Hoelzle said.

"We've been excited about this deal because taking 114 megawatts of wind power off the market for so long means producers have the incentive and means to build more renewable energy capacity for other customers," he wrote.



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