Google announced this week that it has signed a 10-year renewable energy deal to obtain power from three new wind farms being built in Finland, according to Reuters. The wind energy will be used to power one of its data centers.
Google said that the Finnish deal is the first where it is buying power from European projects that will not receive any government subsidies.
The combined capacity of the three farms will be 190 megawatts (MW) and will be built by renewable energy developers Neoen of France and Germany’s CPC and WPD, the news site reports.
Past renewable endeavors
Google is no stranger to the renewable energy market. In August, its parent company Alphabet is hoping to revolutionize renewable energy storage using vats of salt and antifreeze.
Alphabet’s secretive research lab, simply named “X,” is developing a system for storing renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted. The project, named “Malta,” is hoping its energy storage systems “has the potential to last longer than lithium-ion batteries and compete on price with new hydroelectric plants and other existing clean energy storage methods, according to X executives and researchers,” reports Bloomberg.
The system, which can be scaled to energy demands, absorbs energy in the form of electricity and turns it into streams of hot and cold air. The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze. Because salt maintains its temperature well, the system can store energy for hours, or even days.
And in 2017, the tech giant announced it would enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Eneco to purchase all of the electricity generated by the largest solar park in the Netherlands. The electricity is used to power the Eemshaven data center, which cost roughly 600 million euros to build and opened in 2016.
Also in 2017, Google partnered with E.ON, Germany’s largest utility, to introduce Google’s solar platform called Sunroof, which uses Google Earth imagery to analyze a buyer’s roof shape and local weather patterns and create a personalized solar plan. This partnership represented the first time that Sunroof will be offered outside the United States. Initially 7 million households in Germany will be able to calculate the solar potential of their homes on E.ON’s website; then directly order products such as photovoltaic modules from the company. Google will receive licensing fees.