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IT & Systems Management

Swedish wind farm to to power Google data center in Finland

Google continued its aggressive efforts to green its physical operations Tuesday by announcing that its data center in Finland will receive its power from a wind farm in Sweden.

A 10-year deal with Swedish wind farm developer O2 is the fourth long-term agreement--and the first in Europe--made by Google to power its data centers with renewable energy.

O2 is building a wind farm in northern Sweden which will produce 72 megawatts (MW) of energy--all of it going to Google's Finnish data center for 10 years.

Google's agreement to buy all of the farm's power cleared the path for financing the project through the investment arm of the German insurance company, Allianz, which will take over management of the facility when it is expected to come online in 2015.

The search giant explained that the deal was made possible by Scandinavia's integrated electricity market, called Nord Pool. It allowed Google to buy power in one country and use it in another.

Background

Over the last four years, Google has spent more than $1 billion in renewable energy projects. The company sees those investments as not only good for the planet, but for the company's bottom line.

"Of course, using renewable energy is good for the environment, but it also makes long-term financial sense," wrote Global Infrastructure Team Senior Manager Francois Stern in a company blog.

"That's why," Stern continued, "in addition to protecting ourselves against future increases in power prices through long-term purchasing for our operations, we also invest in new renewable energy projects that will deliver a return for our money."

This latest renewable energy announcement by Google comes on the heels of its disclosure last week that it would invest $12 million in a solar farm in South Africa, that will be capable of providing power for 30,000 homes in that country.

Other renewable energy deals cut by Google over the years include:

  • A 20-year agreement to buy electricity at a fixed rate from a wind farm in Iowa to power several of its data centers.
  • Putting up 37.5 percent of the equity investment in a transmission backbone to carry electricity 350 miles to Virginia from offshore wind hubs off the New Jersey coast.
  • A 20-year agreement to buy all the electricity from a 100MW wind farm in Oklahoma to power its data centers in that state.

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