Google signs wind energy agreement

wind farm

Google has agreed to buy energy generated from a wind farm in Iowa for the next 20 years. The deal gives Google access to 114 megawatts of wind power at a fixed price over the term of the agreement. Google says that 114 megawatts of power is enough to maintain several of its data centers.

According to the Google Blog, "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. The inability of renewable energy developers to obtain financing has been a significant inhibitor to the expansion of renewable energy." Google is working hard to use renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint. They invested $38.8 million into NextEra Energy Resources in May. NextEra owns the wind farm in Iowa that Google is buying energy from as well as several in North Dakota. The wind farms in North Dakota generate 169.5 megawatts of power which is enough to power more than 55,000 homes.

Back in December Google started a subsidiary called Google Energy which was granted federal approval to buy and sell energy on the open market. When they started Google Energy a Google spokeswoman said that it was going to help give Google more flexibility in procuring power for their data centers, but could Google Energy become your next power provider?

Image source: Google Blog

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27 Comments

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You go to check your gmail and you get the message...

Sorry, not enough wind in Iowa today. You can't see your email.

Beaux said,
You go to check your gmail and you get the message...

Sorry, not enough wind in Iowa today. You can't see your email.

LOL, I like it.

Wind turbines are stupid. We should be investing in reliable renewable energy sources that produce a constant amount of power. Maybe Google should invest in research into hydrogen power.

Meph said,
Wind turbines are stupid. We should be investing in reliable renewable energy sources that produce a constant amount of power. Maybe Google should invest in research into hydrogen power.

hydrogen power is used as a energy transport and not as a sole source of energy.

Meph said,
Wind turbines are stupid. We should be investing in reliable renewable energy sources that produce a constant amount of power. Maybe Google should invest in research into hydrogen power.

Well, you're half right, but for the wrong reason... the problem with wind turbines isn't a lack of constant power (they put them in places that have heavy winds pretty much all the time), the problem is the relatively small amount of power generated by each individual unit, so the massive number of units needed takes a heavy toll on the landscape (they look cool in pictures but they're really pretty ugly)... try driving through Texas sometime and you'll see what I mean.

So how exactly do you bottle up the energy, put it on trucks and ship it to the data centers? Is it like a Mr. Fusion or something?

The way I understand it, and I might be a little off on this, is that the electricity generated from different places goes into the total power grid, and companies can buy their electricity from whichever location they want. Generally, only very large companies can do this, not small businesses or individuals, because of local power company monopolies.

It's similar to how gasoline is sold here in the US. All of the gasoline from all of the refineries goes into a pipeline, and at the other end, gas companies take out an amount equal to what they put in. The gas sold at a Shell or Chevron station could just as easily have been pumped and refined by BP or Exxon.

Google has agreed to buy energy generated from a wind farm in Iowa for the next 20 years.

I am a little confused with this sentence. When you buy something, you own it forever. In the article, when they mention the next 20 years, it sounds like Google is renting, not buying. Can please someone explain this to me?

WV2MJR said,

I am a little confused with this sentence. When you buy something, you own it forever. In the article, when they mention the next 20 years, it sounds like Google is renting, not buying. Can please someone explain this to me?

For the next 20 years they're tied down to buying energy from them. This means, if they want to suddenly stop, they'd have to pay a very big fine. So in other words, a contract.

Ridlas said,
For the next 20 years they're tied down to buying energy from them. This means, if they want to suddenly stop, they'd have to pay a very big fine. So in other words, a contract.

It's like me signing a contract to say I will buy gasoline frmo Exxon for the next 20 years instead of BP... I still own something in the end that I used but said who I will buy it from

Ridlas said,
For the next 20 years they're tied down to buying energy from them. This means, if they want to suddenly stop, they'd have to pay a very big fine. So in other words, a contract.

Rather easy to come up with that, wasn't it? Duh!!

What I'd rather know is why didn't Google simply buy the whole damn farm?!!

cork1958 said,

Rather easy to come up with that, wasn't it? Duh!!

What I'd rather know is why didn't Google simply buy the whole damn farm?!!

They would have to pay more in staff and such.

cork1958 said,
Rather easy to come up with that, wasn't it? Duh!!

What I'd rather know is why didn't Google simply buy the whole damn farm?!!

Because they aren't an energy provider (yet), and this wind farm provides power to more than just Google.

Ridlas said,
Soon: Google Cars, Google Energy, Google bread and don't forget, Google milk!

All with better quality than the Microsoft ones, environment friendly and with no slave-workers used in production.

Lechio said,

All with better quality than the Microsoft ones, environment friendly and with no slave-workers used in production.

Better quality of Google what compared to MS what? I prefer Google Voice but MS doesn't compete in that space. I personally find Bing and Bing Maps to be better than Google's offerings - and those are some of Google's core products. The Android stuff is interesting but I'd rather dev for Win Phone 7.

As for "slave-workers", if they don't like their job/benefits/pay employees of either comapny may voluntarily seek other employment. Kind of stretching the definition of "slavery" to be absurdly broad.

Of course, since Google employees are forced to pay taxes and have absolutely no recourse to "opt out" of taxes and the funded services aside from imprisonment (slavery) we're all slaves if we have income.

Neb Okla said,
Better quality of Google what compared to MS what? I prefer Google Voice but MS doesn't compete in that space. I personally find Bing and Bing Maps to be better than Google's offerings - and those are some of Google's core products. The Android stuff is interesting but I'd rather dev for Win Phone 7.

As for "slave-workers", if they don't like their job/benefits/pay employees of either comapny may voluntarily seek other employment. Kind of stretching the definition of "slavery" to be absurdly broad.

Of course, since Google employees are forced to pay taxes and have absolutely no recourse to "opt out" of taxes and the funded services aside from imprisonment (slavery) we're all slaves if we have income.

*woosh*

Not even gonna reply to this, who wants the honors?

Excellent. I know for a fact that Google use a lot of electricity, so by getting it from a renewable source is great news for the planet!

still1 said,
Go Iowa!!!!! I live in Iowa

Me too

I had the opportunity to check out this particular Wind Farm in March, and man are they impressive. I was taken aback by the size of the blades...just crazy.