Google got major offshore wind energy deal


Google is making a big move to power its European data centers with offshore wind energy. They've signed agreements to support two new wind farms off the coast of the Netherlands.

This is all part of Google's plan to use clean energy for all its data center electricity needs by 2030. To make that happen, Google is adding more renewable energy, like offshore wind, to the power grids where its data centers are located. Today, Google shared the next step of this plan for Europe, adding over 700 megawatts of clean energy capacity to the grid.

Most of this new energy will come from two offshore wind farms in the Netherlands, where Google has two of its 24 data centers. They've made agreements with energy companies Shell and Eneco for these wind farms.

The wind farms, Hollandse Kust Noord (HKN) and Hollandse Kust West (HKW), are expected to supply around 6 percent of the Netherlands’ annual electricity consumption. HKN is already producing electricity, while HKW is set to start operations in 2026.

With these agreements, Google says its Dutch data centers will be 90 percent powered by clean energy this year. Additionally, Google has made deals to buy renewable energy from wind and solar farms in Italy, Poland, and Belgium.

It's important to note that Google's goal is to match its electricity use with carbon-free energy purchases. This means they're not solely relying on renewable energy to run their data centers, which make up about 40 percent of the Netherlands' electricity production.

Tech companies like Google often say they use renewable energy, but they're typically buying Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). These certificates support new clean energy projects. However, falling REC prices can hinder the development of new projects, which defeats the purpose.

To address this, Google and other companies are committing to purchasing carbon-free energy locally and hourly, instead of annually. This encourages the local power grid to increase its capacity for generating and storing clean energy.

The offshore wind industry, especially, can benefit from this support as rising costs have caused some projects to close in Europe and the US, where Google has many data centers.

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