Google Agrees To Buy Entire Output of 240MW Texas Wind Farm
Clean Edge News
Google has agreed to purchase the entire output of the 240 MW Happy Hereford wind farm outside of Amarillo, Texas. This agreement represents Google's fifth long-term agreement and its largest commitment yet. The company has now contracted for more than 570 MW of wind energy, which is enough energy to power approximately 170,000 U.S. households.
The Happy Hereford wind farm, which is expected to start producing energy in late 2014, is being developed by Chermac Energy, a small, Native American-owned company based in Oklahoma. The wind farm will provide energy to the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional grid that serves our Mayes County, Okla. data center.
The structure of this agreement is similar to earlier commitments in Iowa and Oklahoma. Due to the current structure of the market, Google can’t consume the renewable energy produced by the wind farm directly, but the impact on its overall carbon footprint and the amount of renewable energy on the grid is the same as if it could. After purchasing the renewable energy, Google will retire the renewable energy credits (RECs) and sell the energy itself to the wholesale market. The company will apply any additional RECs produced under this agreement to reduce its carbon footprint elsewhere.
Google says this type of power purchase agreement represents one of several ways it is working to make additional renewable energy available for both its data centers and the communities in which it operates. In Scandinavia, due to the region’s unified power market and grid system, Google is able to purchase wind energy in Sweden and directly consume it at its Hamina, Finland data center. Google is also working with its local utility partners to develop new options. In 2012, the company signed an agreement with GRDA, its utility partner in Oklahoma, to green the energy supply to an Oklahoma data center with 48 MW of wind energy from the Canadian Hills Wind Project. Earlier this year, Google began working with Duke Energy to develop a new renewable energy tariff in North Carolina.