Google to use wind energy to power Oklahoma datacentre

Google has entered into an agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to use 48MW of wind energy to power its Oklahoma datacentre

Search engine giant Google has entered into an agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to use 48MW of wind energy from the Canadian Hills Wind Project to power its Oklahoma datacentre.

The collaboration is part of Google’s commitment to carbon neutrality, said Gary Demasi, director of Google’s global infrastructure team, on Google’s official blog. Oklahoma state is among the top 10 states in the US for wind capacity.

The agreement is GRDA’s first ever wind energy project. GRDA is the agency that controls and manages the Grand River waterway in Oklahoma. Google has been working with the authority since 2011 to procure renewable energy.

“In conjunction with the electricity that GRDA already supplies to Google to operate its datacentre, Google will pay GRDA a premium to purchase renewable energy generated by Canadian Hills,” said Demasi.

This additional 40MW of wind energy brings the total amount of renewable energy that Google has contracted out to more than 260MW.

Demasi added that it was also a milestone for Google, because the agreement differed from its previous power purchase agreements (PPAs), under which it agreed to buy the energy directly from the developer that built the wind farm.

This agreement, by contrast, marks the first time Google has collaborated with a utility provider to increase the amount of renewable energy powering its datacentre.

Experts have said that choosing an energy supplier that can demonstrate a good mix of renewables in its portfolio is an effective way to curb carbon emissions and make datacentres more green.

According to the search engine giant, utility providers such as GRDA help companies with a corporate mandate to use clean energy for their operations in a scalable way.

Although wind or solar energy is not predictable enough in most cases to provide core power requirements in an IT infrastructure, it can be used to deal with high energy costs during peak workloads in the datacentres by using feed-in tariffs.

Google’s Oklahoma datacentre was built in 2007 when it made its commitment to carbon neutrality. In 2012, the company announced the addition of a second datacentre building on the same site.

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