Google Green

Using green power

A closer look

Piloting new technology

One of the ways we support the development of new technologies is by piloting them on our own turf—putting our campuses on the cutting edge of renewable energy use. We’ve tried new renewable energy options that help our operations run more efficiently while helping these technologies evolve and scale more rapidly.

In addition to our 1.9 MW solar array, we've incorporated other forms of renewable energy into our corporate campuses. This includes running a 970 kW cogeneration unit off our local landfill gas, which not only removes the methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas, but converts it into electricity and heat that we use on campus. We've also installed an efficient ground source heat pump and deployed solar water heating on our office buildings in Mountain View, Hyderabad, and Tel Aviv.

Criteria for bringing new technologies on campus

They make good business sense.

In other words, we are confident that the technology will deliver a return on investment (ROI) in a reasonable period of time. For example, the 1.7 MW solar installation we implemented in 2007 produces over 3,000,000 kWh of clean energy per year, saving us a great deal in energy costs and reducing our carbon footprint.

They have long term potential to transform the industry.

We believe that by putting our dollars and resources behind a promising new technology—or allowing companies to use our campus as a testing ground—the technology will have a better chance of making it to market and scaling. For example, in 2007, we hosted the first installation of a promising new fuel cell technology that has the potential to use biogas. The company, also based in the Bay Area, was able to more quickly evolve the technology by having a working real-world pilot nearby.

Mountain View solar panels

Purchasing clean energy

Google’s goal is 100% renewable power, and to date we’ve signed 18 contracts to purchase nearly 2.5 gigawatts of clean energy – equivalent to taking over 1 million cars off the road and making us the largest non-utility purchaser of renewable energy in the world. To achieve our goal, we’re buying clean electricity directly from wind and solar farms around the world through Power Purchase Agreements (or PPAs), and we’re additionally working with our utility partners to make more renewable energy available to us and others through renewable energy tariffs and bilateral contracts. For more details, see our white papers on PPAs and renewable energy tariffs, which provide a publicly available blueprint that other companies and utilities can use to green their operations and grids.

We hold ourselves to the highest standards when purchasing clean power. First, our contracts must create new sources of green power on the grid. Second, we purchase renewable energy in the same grid regions from which we’re withdrawing power. And third, we purchase “bundled” energy and RECs, meaning the same quantity of energy and RECs at the same time.

Here are our renewable energy purchase commitments to date:

  1. Story County II: 114 MW of wind in Iowa from NextEra Energy Resources
  2. Minco II: 101 MW of wind Oklahoma from NextEra Energy Resources
  3. Canadian Hills: 48 MW of wind from the Grand River Dam Authority
  4. Maevaara: 105 MW of wind in Sweden from OX2 (developer) and Allianz (owner)
  5. Happy Hereford: 239 MW of wind in Texas from Chermac Energy
  6. Ramsnäs, Skalleberg, Mungseröd, Alered: 60 MW of wind in Sweden from Eolus Vind (developer) and EWZ and Aquila Capital (owner)
  7. Wind VIII: Up to 407 MW of wind in Iowa from MidAmerican Energy
  8. Delfzijl: 63 MW of wind in the Netherlands from Eneco
  9. Golden Hills: 43 MW of wind in California from NextEra Energy Resources
  10. Bluestem: 198 MW of wind in Oklahoma from RES Americas (developer) and Exelon (owner)
  11. Bethel: 225 MW of wind in Texas from Invenergy
  12. Great Western: 225 MW of wind in Oklahoma from EDF Renewable Energy
  13. Duke Solar: 61 MW of solar in North Carolina from Duke Energy Carolinas
  14. El Romero: 80 MW of solar in Chile from Acciona Energía
  15. Jenasen: 76 MW of wind in Sweden from Eolus Vind
  16. Cimarron Bend: 200 MW of wind in Kansas from Tradewind Energy (developer) and Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (owner)
  17. Beaufort: 76 MW of wind in Sweden from Rabbalshede Kraft (developer) and Ardian and Manor Group (owners)
  18. Tellenes: 160 MW of wind in Norway from Zephyr AS and Norsk Vind Energi AS (developers) and Blackrock (owner)

Video: Our Power Purchase Agreements