Google pilots new renewables programme

Google has announced that it will be the first customer of Duke Energy's renewable programme, in a move that will see Google's North Carolina data centre receive clean energy from a local 61 MW solar project.

Google will purchase renewable energy from Duke Energy’s solar array in Rutherford County to power one of its data centres. The centre will receive clean energy equivalent to powering almost 12,000 US households.

A statement on Google’s Green Blog reads: “By working closely with providers like Duke, we’re now able to benefit from North Carolina’s emerging solar energy industry and pave the way for other big customers to do the same.

“This is the first time that we’re purchasing solar power in enough volume to power one of our data centres and it takes us another step towards our goal to eventually power 100% of our operations with renewable energy.”

Google becomes the first customer of Duke Energy’s Green Source Rider programme, which offers companies with extensive energy needs, the ability to offset energy consumption with renewable energy.

Duke’s programme allows companies to bypass complex regulatory requirements for energy purchase by buying directly from Duke Energy rather than funding large scale renewable projects directly.

Google has been working with Duke Energy for more than two years to develop this partnership, and has now seen similar schemes from other companies adopted across 10 states including Washington.

Searching for sustainability

According to Google, to date it has committed to purchase 1.2 gigawatts of renewable energy under long term contracts globally – equivalent to taking 590,000 cars off the road. Last month Google announced plans to buy a 12.5% stake in the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Northern Kenya – Africa’s largest wind farm.

Google was also among the 13 American multinationals that put forward $140bn of new low-carbon investment to the White House pledge as the group plans to invest in more than 1,600MW of renewable energy.

In this month’s Climate Change Report from the international non-profit CDP, Google ranked alongside Apple, SABMiller and Unilever as the best-performing companies in promoting low-carbon outputs.

Matt Mace

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