Google Will Be First Duke Energy Customer To Buy Solar Electricity

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Google has announced it will purchase renewable electricity from a 61 MW Duke Energy solar project that is under construction in North Carolina. The buy is meant to address some of the Google data center’s clean electricity demands.

According to a press statement, Google will benefit from Duke Energy Carolinas’ Green Source Rider program, allowing companies to purchase large amounts of renewable energy without incurring extra costs.

Duke Energy’s 61-megawatt solar project is scheduled to be constructed in Rutherford County. Under a power purchase agreement with the Rutherford Farms, LLC solar project, Duke Energy will secure power to meet new energy demand from Google’s expanded Lenoir, North Carolina data center.

Duke and Google+Data+Lenoir_midAccording to a Google blog post concerning this agreement,
“In 2013, when we announced the expansion of our Lenoir, North Carolina data center, we proposed a program with our electricity provider Duke Energy that would allow companies like Google to power their local operations with renewable energy. Today, we’re announcing that we have signed on as the first customer of the program and we will be purchasing energy from a 61 MW solar project in Rutherford County, North Carolina—enough energy to power almost 12,000 average U.S. households.”

Duke Energy logoRob Caldwell, Duke Energy senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources, said, “Google was a driver behind Duke Energy seeking approval for the Green Source Rider. Having Google as the first company to publicly announce its participation is extremely satisfying. We believe this will lead to similar announcements in the future.”

Enrollment in the Green Source Rider means Google will use renewable energy sources for a portion of the energy supplied to its expanded data center. Under the program, Duke Energy and Google agreed on the specific project and additional costs associated with energy from the facility.

Of note, other Duke Energy customers will not pay for the project. Duke will buy the energy generated from the new North Carolina solar farm and Google will buy the clean power using energy credits it has purchased from Duke Energy.

On a global scale, Google has agreed to purchase 1.2 gigawatts of renewable power globally as it endeavors to power 100% of its operations with renewables. “As we pursue that goal, this is a really big moment for us and we’re thrilled to have created this program with Duke Energy,” said Gary Demasi, Google’s head of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy. “Not only does it enable us to purchase renewable energy for our North Carolina operations, it will empower others in the state to do the same.”

This pioneering renewable energy agreement is significant one for a company growing the global footprint for renewable electricity. It follows a 2013 $600 million investment targeting the expansion of its Lenoir data center, where it collaborated with Duke Energy to create the Green Source Rider program, an innovative program that targeted large customers seeking renewable energy supply in Duke Energy Carolinas territory.

“As the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world, we (and our partners) want to encourage the countries and states in which we operate our data centers to add more renewable energy to their grids,” Google has stated on its blog.

Kudos to the building of this renewable energy footprint.

Image via Duke Energy


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Glenn Meyers

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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