updated 02:54 pm EDT, Tue September 17, 2013
Wind farm to provide power for Oklahoma data center
Google is extending its green credentials, by purchasing the entire output of another wind farm for use by one of its data centers. The Happy Hereford farm near Amarillo, Texas has sold its entire 240-megawatt output to the search provider for an undisclosed amount, with the wind farm itself set to begin production of energy from late 2014 onwards.
The Chermac Energy-owned wind farm will be providing power to the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional grid covering its Mayes County, Oklahoma data center. The Google Blog states that this will be the company's fifth long-term agreement of its type, with the 570MW of wind energy contracted said to be enough to power approximately 170,000 homes.
Much like earlier agreements in Iowa and Oklahoma, Google will not be able to directly consume the energy from the wind farm. Instead, it will be retire renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the farm, selling the energy generated to the wholesale market, with any excess RECs being declared elsewhere to reduce the company's overall carbon footprint. The data center will then use power from the grid itself.
In January, Google made a similar investment in a 161MW wind farm in west Texas, costing it $200 million at the time. Considering the larger projected output, today's announcement probably costs somewhere between $250 million and $300 million.