Google Invests in Wind Farm to Power Data Centers

Google has recently entered into a deal to buy wind power from NextEra Energy Inc for the next 20 years. The deal allowed Google to start purchasing clean energy as of July 30, 2010. The purchase comes as part of Google’s efforts to become carbon neutral. The clean energy comes from 114 megawatts of wind generation at the NextEra Energy Resources Story County II facility in Iowa.

Using the Google Energy unit, the company is able to purchase wholesale energy directly from the wind farm rather than through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from third parties. However, because Google can’t directly use the energy, it is reselling the energy to the grid in the regional spot market.

“By obtaining RECS through the purchase of green power, our deal has a greater impact on the renewable industry than simply buying ‘naked’ RECs from third parties,” says a press release from Google. “Our long-term commitment directly frees up capital for the developer to build more wind projects.

By purchasing wholesale, Google has been able to combine cost-efficiency with a commitment to carbon-neutrality in this transaction. The wind energy will be enough to power several Google data centers.