On Feb. 11, Google announced on its Green Blog that it “recently signed a long-term agreement to purchase enough local wind energy to offset the electrical consumption of its North Bayshore headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., on an annual basis.”
The agreement with NextEra Energy Resources will help to repower an iconic Bay Area wind farm at California’s Altamont Pass with new turbines that will pour 43 MW of electricity onto the grid starting in 2016,” posted David Radcliffe, the company’s V.P., real estate and workplace services. “The new turbines will generate energy that feeds into the grid that powers our North Bayshore buildings in Mountain View.
While these electrons can’t be traced once they enter the grid, we can measure how many of them leave the turbines, as well as how many we use on campus on an annual basis (tracked through a system of renewable energy credits, or RECs). So even though the electrons follow an untraceable path through the California electricity grid, we can be sure that we're offsetting the electrical consumption of our North Bayshore headquarters with the renewable energy from the new turbines.
Radcliffe also wrote that the company now has agreements with renewable energy providers to provide 1.1 gigawatts of green energy, and that it has made equity investments in 17 utility-scale renewable energy projects. He says the company is particularly proud of being involved with the Altamont Pass wind farm because of its historic significance in the wind power industry.
“If we can geek out for a minute: We think this project is especially cool because back in the 1980’s, the golden hills of Altamont Pass were an early test bed for the first large-scale wind power technology in the U.S,” he blogged. “We’ve been blown away (pun intended :)) by how far turbine technology has come since then. Once the installation is complete, and the 370 legacy turbines are replaced, it will take just 24 new ones to generate as much power as our campus uses in a year. Talk about doing more with less.”