Google claims latest solar and wind deals are ‘biggest ever non-utility purchase’

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Google's infographic of the latest procurements. Image: Google company blog.

Search engine and information tech giant Google has purchased the output of renewable energy generation facilities totalling 841MW across several global territories.

The latest purchases include the procurement of 61MW of solar from US utility Duke Energy, which is still under development, as well as a further 781MW announced today. The purchase agreements have term lengths that vary from 10 to 20 years, and will be used to power Google’s own operations, including data centres.

The company has to date invested in more than 2GW of renewable energy facilities and claimed today that the 841MW of deals is the “biggest ever non-utility purchase” of renewable energy. Its most recently announced data centre, in Alabama, will be 100% renewable powered from its inauguration.    

The vast majority of that procurement figure – 701MW – is wind power in Sweden and the US. The remaining 80MW will be solar power bought from Chile, one of the world’s PV markets to have seen tremendous activity recently.

Private companies commit to climate action around COP21

Google was among 13 major companies to sign the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, an Obama administration-backed drive to voice support for a strong outcome at COP21 talks.

Through that pledge, for which co-signees included Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and Apple, Google promised to triple its purchases of renewable energy by 2025 as well as cleaning up its transport, water usage and actively supporting progress by developing appropriate products.

With regards to the last of these commitments, this summer, the search engine company launched Project Sunroof, an interactive mapping tool which displays the suitability of individual households for solar PV. So far the project has only been rolled out to regions of the US on a trial basis.

Announcing the latest procurements to power its own operations on its company blog today, Google said it has separately also put US$2.5 billion into 22 large-scale renewables projects worldwide.

COP21 talks are currently taking place in Paris, France, and numerous businesses have made announcements drives to foster renewable energy and committing to combat climate change. These include a declaration by major companies including Unilever and HSBC that the private sector has a “responsibility” to act, as well as the launch of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition R&D initiative by Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma of Chinese home shopping web portal Alibaba and others.  

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