Google has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with NextEra Energy Resources to purchase 43 MW of power from the Golden Hills wind farm, located near Livermore, Calif.
According to a blog post by David Radcliffe, Google's vice president for real estate and workplace services, the company will purchase 43 MW of output in 2016 – or enough to offset the electrical consumption at Google's North Bayshore building, which is part of the conglomerate's massive Mountain View, Calif.-based complex.
‘While we've been committed to being a carbon-neutral company since 2007, and we purchase clean energy for our data centers, this agreement is the first of its kind when it comes to our offices,’ writes Radcliffe. ‘This new technology is twice as efficient and also safer – especially for wildlife.’
Radcliffe says that although the wind farm's output cannot be traced, it can, nonetheless, be documented.
‘While these electrons can't be traced once they enter the grid, we can measure how many of them leave the turbines, as well as how many we use on campus on an annual basis (tracked through a system of renewable energy credits). So, even though the electrons follow an untraceable path through the California electricity grid, we can be sure that we're offsetting the electrical consumption of our North Bayshore headquarters with the renewable energy from the new turbines.’
It was an added bonus that the wind farm is part of a repowering effort.
‘We think this project is especially cool because back in the 1980s, the golden hills of Altamont Pass were an early test bed for the first large-scale wind power technology in the U.S,’ notes Radcliffe. ‘We've been blown away (pun intended) by how far turbine technology has come since then. Once the installation is complete, and the 370 legacy turbines are replaced, it will take just 24 new ones to generate as much power as our campus uses in a year. Talk about doing more with less.’