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Google To Reuse Retired Coal Power Plant As Data Centre

Google is planning its newest data centre, and not only will Google be using renewable energy to power it, but it’ll be reusing a retired coal power plant to do so.

Google announced the impending development of its newest data centre on its Official Blog on Wednesday. The data centre will be reusing the soon-to-be retired Widows Creek coal power plant, located in Jackson County, Alabama.

Google-2Data centres are inherently in need of rigorous infrastructure to allow them to run efficiently 24/7. According to Google’s Patrick Gammons, Senior Manager of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy, “there’s a lot of potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like former coal power plants.”

Specifically, Google intends to use the many electrical transmission lines that a power plant like Widows Creek required to bring in “lots of renewable energy” to power the new data centre. According to Gammons, via “an arrangement with Tennessee Valley Authority,” Google’s electric utility, “we’ll be able to scout new renewable energy projects and work with TVA to bring the power onto their electrical grid.”

In the end, Google is aiming to ensure that all of its data centres — including Widows Creek — will be run on 100% renewable energy. The fact that Google can also claim to now be rehabilitating retired coal-fired power plants will only increase its environmental credibility.

“Google’s data center in Alabama is a poignant symbol of how quickly our energy economy can change for the better,” said Greenpeace senior climate and energy campaigner, David Pomerantz.

The data centre will also include Google’s “state-of-the-art energy efficiency technologies,” which Google claims help the company “squeeze more out of every watt of power use consume.” Apparently, “compared to five years ago,” Google now gets “3.5 times the computing power out of the same amount of energy.”

For more Google cleantech news (there’s a lot), check out our Google archives.

 
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