Google today sealed its third green energy deal in the space of three months, agreeing to buy electricity generated by four Swedish wind farms for the next ten years.
For companies offering vast online services like Google and Microsoft, the energy requirements of growing numbers of data centers are one of the largest ongoing costs to the businesses.
Google’s total energy requirement back in 2011 was a continuous 260 million watts, about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant, or roughly 0.013 per cent of the world’s energy use.
Since 2011 Google’s requirements have undoubtedly grown, and in response Google investments in renewable energy reached nearly $500m (£301m) during 2012.
Last month Google invested $75m in a Texas wind farm and in November it made a $80m investment in solar facilities in California and Arizona.
Google’s last 12 months of green investments
Eolus Vind AB – Sweden (January 2014) $?m
Panhandle 2 Wind Farm – Texas (December 2013) $75m
182 MW wind farm that will generate enough renewable energy to power 56,000 homes.
Recurrent Energy – California and Arizona (November 2013) $80m
106 MW solar facility that will generate enough electricity to power over 17,000 homes.
Mount Signal Solar – California (October 2013) $103m
265.7 MW solar plant that will generate enough energy to power 80,000 homes.
Jasper Power Project – South Africa (May 2013) $12m
94MW solar facility generating enough electricity to power 30,000 homes.
Spinning Spur Wind Farm – Texas (December 2012) $200m
161 MW wind farm generating enough energy to power 60,000 homes.
Google’s investments in renewable energy since 2011 generated enough renewable energy to cover 22 per cent of the company’s total electricity consumption during 2012, or enough to power over three million homes once all the projects are completed.
Apple currently generates 75 per cent of its energy from renewable sources and Facebook and Microsoft both announced new US wind power investments in November.