Google has now made a significant statement by announcing this week that it has entered into a wind energy agreement with an Oklahoma utility company to supply a nearby data center with clean energy.
The multimedia giant will purchase 48MW of wind energy from Grand River Dam Authority, who will be selling the power generated by the Canadian Hills Wind Project. The facility is predicted to be up and running by the end of the year.
Renewable energy is nothing new for Google since the company has held power purchase agreements (PPAs) for wind power previously. It has also been a major investor in clean energy projects, most notably the massive Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in the California desert.
Earlier in the week, Apple announced that it is expanding the clean energy resources of its Maiden, North Carolina data center by a large solar array at an offsite facility. This is in addition to the two 100-acre solar arrays already generating electricity for the data center’s operations. Apple also has a “bio-gas-powered 5-megawatt fuel cell installation” in the works and claims it will be the largest non-utility fuel cell in operation in the U.S. when it’s completed.
Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace lauded Google’s announcement but took the opportunity to call out Microsoft for not pursuing their own renewable energy agenda.
“Unlike Google, Microsoft has yet to significantly invest in clean energy,” Greenpeace senior IT analyst Gary Cook said. “Microsoft has instead continue to build data centers attached to dirty sources of electricity and sought to mask its dirty energy supply with carbon offsets and renewable energy credits.”
According to the New York Times, by their very nature, data centers usually run at maximum capacity all the time, transferring mind-boggling amounts of information around the world. They are terribly inefficient and waste over 90 percent of the electricity they draw from the power grid.