Google Strikes Wind Power Deal - InformationWeek

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7/20/2010
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Google Strikes Wind Power Deal

Clean, renewable energy will be powering several Google data centers by the end of the month.

Continuing its efforts to implement socially responsible technology, Google on Tuesday said that its Google Energy subsidiary had completed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with NextEra Energy Resources to buy clean power.

Starting on July 30, Google will begin buying up to 114 megawatts of wind power from the NextEra Energy Resources Story County II facility in Iowa at an agreed-upon rate for two decades.

Urs Hoelzle, SVP of operations at Google, says that the energy will be enough to supply several data centers and that the size of the purchase will support further investment in clean energy production.

"By contracting to purchase so much energy for so long, we're giving the developer of the wind farm financial certainty to build additional clean energy projects," he said in a blog post. "The inability of renewable energy developers to obtain financing has been a significant inhibitor to the expansion of renewable energy."

Mike O'Sullivan, SVP of development for NextEra Energy Resources, attributes his company's recent growth to demand for emission-free energy from environmentally responsible companies. "With the support of customers like Google Energy, we've built our wind fleet from fewer than 500 megawatts a decade ago to more than 7,600 megawatts -- the largest fleet in North America today," he said in a statement.

Google in June, 2007 made a commitment to become carbon neutral by the end of that year. It has also participated in a variety of other efficient computing and renewable energy initiatives, like the installation of solar panels at its corporate headquarters.

Last year, Google was ranked #3 in the Boston College-Reputation Institute 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility Index (CSRI), a list of the 50 U.S. companies out of 200 deemed to be the strongest in the areas of ethics, citizenship and workplace practices.

Walt Disney Company and Microsoft were ranked #1 and #2 respectively.

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