Google, Other Techs Eye Clean Energy Investments

Google has announced its 14th renewable energy investment, putting $80 million in six solar power projects, totaling 106 megawatts, that will provide electricity to utilities in California and Arizona, according to a report from Forbes.

Google is partnering with KKR in the deal, which totals $400 million. Recurrent Energy is developing the projects, which have a target launch of January 2014. The three firms entered into a similar agreement in 2011, involving four solar projects totaling 88 megawatts that now provide electricity to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Meanwhile, Google is also looking to power its data centers with clean energy. To that end, it has entered into long-term agreements to buy wind and solar power and spun a subsidiary, Google Energy, to buy and sell electricity in the wholesale market.

Similarly, other big technology companies are looking for sources of clean energy for their data centers and corporate offices. Facebook, for example, said it selected a site in Iowa for a planned data center to be able to use wind power from a nearby 138-megawatt wind farm planned by MidAmerican Energy.

And Microsoft entered a 20-year agreement to purchase 110 megawatts of wind energy that will ultimately supply power to its San Antonio datacenter, announced on Nov 4. The energy will be provided, beginning in 2015, by the Keechi Wind project, a wind farm planned for the Fort Worth area that will be owned and run by RES Americas. Microsoft is funding the wind power deal with a self-imposed carbon emission fee.

Microsoft and other tech companies have also built their own clean energy sources to power their data centers. Most recently, Apple unveiled plans for a factory in Mesa, Arizona, that will be powered solely by renewable energy. It plans to build solar grid to capture Arizona’s plentiful sunshine, as well as tapping geothermal energy, according to Forbes.

The factory will be sited in a facility initially built by First Solar to manufacture solar panels but never used due to financial woes resulting from a plunge in solar panel prices. There Apple will produce sapphire glass for the camera lenses and fingerprint-readers in its latest devices.

To read the full Forbes article cited in this story, click here



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