Summary:

Google keeps finding creative ways to power its data centers with clean energy. Here’s the largest and latest in Iowa.

Google's Iowa data center

Google has signed its largest clean power contract to date — for 407 MW of wind power — with Iowa power company MidAmerican Energy to supply clean energy for Google’s data center in Iowa. Google made the announcement on its blog on Tuesday, which is Earth Day. MidAmerican is largely owned by investor Warren Buffet’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway.

Four hundred and seven megawatts of wind power is the equivalent power to a mid-sized coal plant or a large natural gas plant. Or, to put it another way, it could provide enough electricity for over 100,000 average American homes. Google says that amount of wind power in Iowa will not only cover the power of its current facilities there, but will also allow for expansion. The deal includes both direct energy generation from MidAmerican’s wind farms and MidAmerican’s renewable energy certificates that are part of other wind projects.

A Google-backed wind farm in Iowa

A Google-backed wind farm in Iowa

The deal is the latest to show how Google is evolving its business of contracting out and buying clean energy in various ways — including working with utilities, power companies, and clean power financiers. Google has been one of the most creative and aggressive internet companies when it comes to buying clean power to run its data centers.

This week, also timed with Earth Day, Apple has been touting its clean power commitments to both its data centers and retail outlets. Apple has pledged to run all of its data centers off of 100 percent clean energy.

While Apple and Google are leading the way, other Internet companies like Twitter and Amazon are lagging behind.

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