Google buys 10 years of renewable energy to power its Finnish data center with Swedish wind

Google buys 10 years of renewable energy to power its Finnish data center with Swedish wind

You can say a lot about Google, but not that it doesn’t genuinely care about the environment.

Sure, striving to use 100% renewable energy across all its operations is good for the company’s bottom line, too, but Google has certainly gone to great lengths making its data centers as energy-efficient as possible.

The company regularly makes clean tech investments to boot, ranging from solar plants in South Africa and across the US to wind farms.

Today, Google is announcing an agreement with Nordic wind farm developer O2 and German insurance powerhouse Allianz that will see the Internet company purchase a decade worth of of renewable energy in a first-of-its-kind deal for Europe.

Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, Google will buy the entire electricity output of a brand new wind farm, to be built at Maevaara, in Övertorneå and the Pajala municipality (northern Sweden).

The output will be pumped into the grid and serve to power Google’s massive data center, which is, rather amusingly, not located in Sweden but neighbouring country Finland instead (see picture above).

Google Nordic PPA Infographic

Thanks to the new power purchase agreement (PPA) with Google, O2 has secured 100 percent financing from Allianz for the construction of the new wind farm, which should be fully operational by early 2015.

Construction of the 24 turbine project, which will boast a capacity of 72MW, will begin in the coming months.

In a statement, Google explains how it is able to buy power from an offshore Swedish wind farm to power its Finnish data center:

The agreement takes advantage of Europe’s increasingly integrated electricity market, in particular Scandinavia’s shared electricity market and grid system, Nord Pool.

This enables Google to buy the wind farm’s electricity output in Sweden with Guarantee of Origin certification and consume the same amount of power at its data center in Finland.

Indeed, Nord Pool (Spot) runs the largest market for electrical energy in the world, measured in volume traded (TWh) and in market share. More than 70 percent of the total consumption of electrical energy in the Nordic market is said to be traded through Nord Pool Spot.

Urs Hoelzle, SVP of Technical Infrastructure at Google, adds:

“As a carbon neutral company, we’re always looking for ways to increase the amount of renewable energy we use.

This long term agreement, our fourth globally, means we can power our Finnish data center with clean energy – and add new wind generation capacity to the European grid.”

Also read:

Google to invest nearly $400 million in Belgian data center to ‘meet growing demand for its online services’

Google outlines plan for utilities to offer renewable power to companies, starts with its Lenoir data center

Images credit: Google

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