Google throws power caution to the wind

Google has signed a 20-year deal to power some of its data centres with wind.

The search giant, clearly confident about being around in twenty year’s time, has announced that it has signed a Power Purchase Agreement which it says will mean it pays for power generated by the wind.

In a blog post Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President, Operations, wrote: “When we decided in 2007 to voluntarily become carbon neutral, our intent was to take responsibility for our carbon emissions and promote sustainable environmental solutions.

“We approach this goal in three ways. First, we minimise our energy consumption; in fact, we’ve built some of the world’s most energy efficient data centres. Second, we seek to power our facilities with renewable energy, like we did in Mountain View, CA with one of the largest corporate solar installations. Finally, we purchase carbon offsets for the emissions we cannot directly eliminate.

“We just completed a substantial 20-year green Power Purchase Agreement that allows us to take responsibility for our footprint and foster true growth in the renewable energy sector. On July 30 we will begin purchasing the clean energy from 114 megawatts of wind generation at the NextEra Energy Resources Story County II facility in Iowa at a predetermined rate for 20 years. Incorporating such a large amount of wind power into our portfolio is tricky but this power is enough to supply several data centres.”

Google will not be able to directly use the clean green energy generated by the wind farm as the power will go to the local grid. However, it is thought Google Energy will sell the power on the regional market, where utilities and electricity retailers go to buy power when demand spikes and they have a shortfall.

As the oil dries up and nuclear power plants start exploding the world over, could Google be trying to get a monopoly in the green energy market? Could this be the next stage for Google’s world domination? Only time will tell, but Google obviously hasn’t seen the documentary Tank Girl, which says whoever controls the water supply will control the world.