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Google, NextEra Energy strike deal for 114MW of wind power

Google, NextEra Energy strike deal for 114MW of wind power

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The first Google Energy deal has been made, and it's for 114 megawatts of wind power from NextEra Energy.

The first Google Energy deal has been made, and it's for 114 megawatts of wind power from NextEra Energy.

The clean, renewable energy will come from the Juno Beach, Fla.-based company's wind farms in Iowa. The agreement is for 20 years at a predetermined rate, and is enough to supply several data centers with power, Google said.

Here's what Google had to say about its motivation for the deal:

When we decided in 2007 to voluntarily become carbon neutral, our intent was to take responsibility for our carbon emissions and promote sustainable environmental solutions. We approach this goal in three ways. First, we minimize our energy consumption; in fact, we’ve built some of the world’s most energy efficient data centers. Second, we seek to power our facilities with renewable energy, like we did in Mountain View, CA with one of the largest corporate solar installations. Finally, we purchase carbon offsets for the emissions we cannot directly eliminate.

It's also a way for Google to indirectly fund the cleantech industry:

By contracting to purchase so much energy for so long, we're giving the developer of the wind farm financial certainty to build additional clean energy projects. The inability of renewable energy developers to obtain financing has been a significant inhibitor to the expansion of renewable energy. We’ve been excited about this deal because taking 114 megawatts of wind power off the market for so long means producers have the incentive and means to build more renewable energy capacity for other customers.

NextEra has almost 700 wind turbines in Iowa alone, for a capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts. Across North America, it counts more than 9,000 wind turbines at 77 wind farms in 17 U.S. states and Canada.

The company's 150-megawatt Story II Wind Energy Center came online in December 2009. The majority of that capacity will go to Google starting July 30, 2010; the remaining 36 megawatts have been claimed by the city of Ames, Iowa.

Photo: NextEra Energy's North Dakota wind farm. (NextEra Energy)

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure