Google nearly doubles investment in renewables with 842 MW of wind and solar

Dive Brief:

  • On Thursday, Google announced it has agreed to purchase power from 842 MW of wind and solar, almost doubling its renewable energy investment from 1.2 GW to 2 GW. 
  • The power purchasing agreements span six projects in three countries, including solar facilities in North Carolina and Chile, and wind farms in Oklahoma and Sweden.
  • Google called it "the largest, most diverse purchase of renewable energy by a non-utility" in an interview with Bloomberg

Dive Insight:

Amid all the announcements coming out of the Paris climate talks, Google's latest investments are making a splash. These new projects are part of the company's push to power its operations with 100% green energy, with a goal of tripling its renewable energy purchases by 2025. 

The company's list of renewable energy investments now grows longer, with $2.5 billion invested in 22 large-scale renewable energy projects, including a $300 million deal with SolarCity for a rooftop solar fund.

“We’re really trying to lead this transition to a cleaner energy economy,” Michael Terrell, principal for energy and infrastructure at Google, told the New York Times. “It’s transforming anyone who touches the energy space. It’s not just about data centers or tech companies.”

Google plans to buy 686 MW of the total 842 MW in the U.S. The tech giant is inking deals with two 200 MW yet-to-be-built wind farms in Oklahoma near one of the company's data centers. The company also signed deals to buy 225 MW of wind from Invenergy and 61 MW of solar from Duke Energy. Google recently signed on with Duke Energy to become the first buyer of its Green Source Rider, which allows large companies to sign 3 to 15-year contracts with their utilities for renewable energy. 

This trend of large corporate buyers, which represent key accounts for utilities, bypassing their utilities for power supplies is being touted as the new "utility death spiral." A recent report from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) found these customers are searching for “economically compelling alternatives to their traditional regulated utility’s offerings."

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Corporate News