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Clean Power Google invests in large solar energy project

Published on September 18th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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Google To “Buy” 100% Of Electricity From 240 MW Texas Wind Farm



google-energyGoogle has been leading the way on clean energy for years. Still, it isn’t resting on its laurels. The Internet giant (“King of the Internet,” as many of us in the industry call it) has just announced that it has signed a power purchase agreement to buy all of the electricity produced by a new wind farm in Texas, a giant 240 MW wind farm called Happy Hereford Wind Farm. The wind farm is near Amarillo, Texas — in case you know the area and are a bit curious.

This is a big agreement that boosts Google’s total agreements with wind farms to 540 MW. That’s pretty astounding. To put that in terms most people can relate to, that’s enough power capacity to supply up to 170,000 homes with electricity.

“The Happy Hereford wind farm, which is expected to start producing energy in late 2014, is being developed by Chermac Energy, a small, Native American-owned company based in Oklahoma,” Google’s Matt Pfile, Senior Manager of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy, writes. “The wind farm will provide energy to the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional grid that serves our Mayes County, Okla. data center.”

Here are some more details on how this agreement and previous agreements like it are arranged:

The structure of this agreement is similar to our earlier commitments 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 could consume it. After purchasing the renewable energy, we’ll retire the renewable energy credits (RECs) and sell the energy itself to the wholesale market. We’ll apply any additional RECs produced under this agreement to reduce our carbon footprint elsewhere.

For more, check out the full Google post.

As I stated above, Google has been a pioneer in the use and even development of clean energy for years. Check out our entire Google archives for more. A few notable stories from 2013 include:

And here’s a summary post I wrote in 2011 regarding Google’s clean energy investments: Google’s Clean Energy Projects (7 Big Ones)

But there’s actually much more there than all of these (over 100 stories!), so scroll through the archives for more.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Shiggity

    Google is really one of the first true 21st century companies. Their business model does better with more and cheaper internet access, while a significant amount of other business models get worse. They aren’t biased on energy generation, so they will take whatever is cheapest and whatever can power their data centers most efficiently in the most optimal locations.

    When you look at how their data centers and energy generation assets are placed, they’re building their own smart-grid. Pretty soon they’ll have a grid completely independent of the mainstream grid. Also remember that they are getting into power transmission as well. In addition to this they are gaining expertise in battery storage tech. They have all the pieces and the puzzle is almost completed.

    • Matt

      Your link is for WSJ subscribers only. Yes there is some story there, just can’t see it without the key. :o

      • Shiggity

        There’s a way to see the article without a subscription. Just copy paste the title of the article into google and click the top search result. I don’t have a subscription and I can see it.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Thanks.

          • Shiggity

            I use an alias for a reason XD

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