Google invests in another wind farm for its data centers
IDG News Service - Google has invested in a wind farm in Oklahoma to help offset the environmental impact of its data centers, even as Greenpeace stepped up its criticism of big Internet companies for using "dirty power" that contributes to global warming.
Google signed a 20-year purchase agreement to buy all the power generated by a 100-megawatt wind farm to be built near one of its data centers in Mayes County, Okla., Google announced in a blog post Thursday.
It's Google's second investment of this type in the past year. Both were made by a subsidiary company, Google Energy, which is certified to buy and sell power on the U.S. wholesale market.
"These purchases represent long-term, meaningful actions to reduce our carbon footprint and power our operations with clean electricity," Google said.
The company also published a white paper Wednesday that explains the complexities of trying to use renewable energy to run a data center. For regulatory and other reasons, Google can't take the power generated by the wind farms and apply it directly to its data centers.
"At our data centers, Google is a retail customer -- we have no way of taking power off the grid wholesale and applying it to our load," it says in the white paper. "We have to buy power just like you do: from our local regulated utility."
Instead, Google sells the power it agrees to purchase back to the grid at local, wholesale prices. The purchase agreements provide the financial incentive for the wind farms to get built, it said, and Google gets to collect Renewable Energy Credits for the wind power it sells. RECs are akin to carbon offsets, except Google says they are more effective because they represent renewable power that has actually been produced.
"Even if we can't legally or physically transfer the [wind] power to our facility, being in the same power market ensures we are contributing to greening the grid where we operate," the company said.
Both the wind farms are being built by NextEra Energy, in which Google has made an investment. It said the Oklahoma facility will be operational by late this year.
Google made its announcement at GigaOm's GreenNet conference in San Francisco. Greenpeace was also there, to step up its campaign against Internet companies that it says rely on power from coal-fired plants to run their data centers.
A new Greenpeace report, "How Green is Your Data?" criticizes Facebook, Google and Apple for building data centers in North Carolina, where it says "cheap and dirty coal-powered electricity is abundant."
"The IT industry points to cloud computing as the new, green model for our IT infrastructure needs, but few companies provide data that would allow us to objectively evaluate these claims," Greenpeace says.
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- AIIM Trendscape: The New Mobile Reality This AIIM Trendscape report shares data, expert opinions, and a unique perspective on the impact of cloud and mobility in the enterprise, surfacing...
- Empowering Your Mobile Workers A modern mobile IT strategy is no longer an option, it is an absolute necessity. Here's how some of the nation's most progressive...
- Mobile Content, Collaboration & IDC's 3rd IT Platform: The Next Frontier for the Mobile Enterprise IDC focuses this article on talks about the new IT platform. This 3rd IT Platform will be the new wave for about the...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different.... All Management White Papers | Webcasts