Google plans to buy more wind power to indirectly power a data center in Oklahoma and to help it reach its goal of increasing the amount of clean power used by its data centers.


Google is staying true to its mission to buy clean power for its data centers, and on Tuesday announced it’s purchasing another 240 megawatts from a wind farm outside of Amarillo, Texas, called Happy Hereford, which will be live in late 2014. The wind power contract — Google’s largest purchase agreement to date — will send power into the area of the grid where Google’s Mayes County, Oklahoma data center operates.

A Google-backed wind farm in Iowa

A Google-backed wind farm in Iowa

Because of regulations, Google’s Oklahoma data center can’t directly consume the wind power, but Google will sell the energy into the wholesale energy market, retire the associated renewable energy credits and apply additional credits to lowering its overall carbon footprint. Google has taken this approach before, and it’s one of the reasons that Google created its subsidiary Google Energy. In other regions Google can directly buy and use the wind power.

The Happy Hereford wind farm deal is Google’s first wind purchase contract in Texas, and the farm itself is being developed by a Native American-owned company in Oklahoma called Chermac Energy. But Google has invested equity in wind farms in Texas, like the Spinning Spur Wind Project, which has a capacity to power about 60,000 U.S homes, and is located in Oldham County, Texas.

In total Google has invested over $1 billion into 2 GW — or a Hoover’s Dam worth — of clean power projects. These investments have been in the form of equity into projects, directly and indirectly buying clean power, investing in clean power startups, and even more experimental initiatives like buying wind startup Makani Power.

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  1. “Because of regulations, Google’s Oklahoma data center can’t directly consume the wind power”

    Wait, there are regulations in Texas or Oklahoma about selling energy? Aren’t those states that blame federal regulations for hindering the economy? Why would they have regulations against deciding where you buy your energy from?

    1. they have vested interest groups like the federal government….lobbyists rule the roost

  2. charles bradshaw Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    People who hate google and believe that they are truly evil refuse to acknowledge stories like this one.

    1. I don’t hate google, I have great respect for a lot of what they do. At the same time I am very respectfully cautious about the power and data they have. Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m more concerned about google or the NSA.

    2. Sure, but this is not all to do with good or evil, is it? These are smart investments that should pay off for the company. Good PR as well.

  3. Robert Crenwelge Thursday, September 19, 2013

    Google is a leader in clean energy commitments, they out their money where their mouth is! Now let’s put those data centers in Texas, where they belong.

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