Google's Data Center Windmill Farm

Google (GOOG) is using on-site windmills to generate some of the power for its data center facility in the Netherlands. Erwin Boogert, who posted photos of the Google facility last year, has added additional shots showing the many windmills at the site (see the best shots here and here on Flickr). The photos were noted by InformationWeek columnist John Foley, who earlier this year traveled to The Dalles, Oregon to take photos of Google’s data center there.

Foley also offers an intriguing theory: that the additional 1,000 acres of land Google purchased in Council Bluffs, Iowa could provide room to build a massive windmill farm to provide additional renewable energy for Google’s $600 million data center project in Council Bluffs.

Energy was a factor in Google’s decision to locate in Council Bluffs, which has a large quantity of renewable energy, fitting Google’s ongoing push for environmentally responsible computing. The local utility, MidAmerican Energy, generates more wind energy than any other utility in the country. MidAmerican officials said they expect that at least 18 percent of the energy consumed by the new Google data center will be generated by wind and other renewable energy sources. MidAmerican operates 323 wind turbines at three sites in Iowa, providing the capacity to generate 459.5 megawatts of electricity. The utility recently sought approval to by another 540 megawatts.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.