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Google signs wind power purchase agreement in pursuit of UK carbon-free energy pledge

Google claims power purchase agreement with French utility firm will bring it a step closer to being able to power its entire UK operations with carbon-free energy by 2030

Google has signed an offshore wind energy deal that it claims brings it a step closer to its goal of powering its UK offices and cloud regions with carbon-free energy by 2030.

The internet search giant has signed a power purchase agreement (PAA) with French utility company Engie that will see it receive 100MW of carbon-free energy, which will be generated by the Moray West offshore wind farm in Scotland.

According to Google, the PPA means its UK operations – including its offices and datacentre regions – will operate at or near 90% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis, from a projected 67% at present, when the agreement goes live in 2025.

“By achieving this goal, every Gmail sent, every Search query asked and every YouTube video watched will be powered by cloud regions that run on carbon-free energy every hour of every day,” said the company in a statement.

The company added that the PPA will mark Google’s UK cloud region as one of the greenest in the world.

“This is particularly timely given the rapid expansion of computing as more British businesses look to digitally transform their operations with Google Cloud,” it said.

The company also claimed that deals like this are “critical to the growth of the UK’s renewable energy sector” because it brings more green power onto the grid.

“People across the UK and Europe are increasingly worried about climate change and energy security,” said Matt Brittin, president of Google for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We share that concern and believe technology is an important part of the solution – both by reducing our own emissions, and by helping others to reduce theirs.

“This new investment in UK renewable energy brings us one step closer to reaching our goal of operating entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030, and means that in the UK, we’ll be running on at or near 90% carbon-free energy in 2025.”

Paulo Almirante, senior executive vice-president in charge of renewables, energy management and nuclear activities at Engie, said the firm was proud to be helping Google reach its carbon-free energy goals.

“As a major player in PPAs, Engie designs innovative green corporate PPAs for off-takers from offshore wind – as we do for our onshore renewable projects,” he said. “This contract demonstrates the strength of the group's renewable portfolio, with 37GW of renewable assets, a major advantage for our customers in their decarbonisation strategy.”

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