Google will buy electricity from a new wind farm in Northern Sweden to support a data center in Finland, the company said today. Google and 02, the wind farm developer, jointly announced that Google will be purchasing the entire 10-year electricity output of the new wind farm at Maevaara, in Övertorneå and Pajala municipality in northern Sweden.
German insurance company Allianz has provided 100% of the financing for the project.The wind farm will be fully operational in early 2015. This is the fourth long-term agreement to power data centers with renewable energy worldwide for Google, and its first in Europe.
“As a carbon neutral company, we’re always looking for ways to increase the amount of renewable energy we use,” said Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice-President of Technical Infrastructure at Google. “This long term agreement, our fourth globally, means we can power our Finnish data center with clean energy – and add new wind generation capacity to the European grid.”
72 Megawatt Capacity
This agreement allows the already carbon neutral Google to run its Hamina, Finland data center using renewable energy. The 24 turbine project will have a capacity of 72MW. All planning approvals, permits, and financing and in line and construction will start in the coming months.
The purchase agreement with Google means O2 has secured 100 percent financing for the construction of the new wind farm from German insurance company Allianz. “Google’s decision to purchase the full output of the Maevaara wind farm for its Finnish data center was a key element in our decision to invest in the project,” said David Jones, Head of Renewable Energy at Allianz Capital Partners. “Maevaara is our first renewable energy investment in Sweden, and the Power Purchase Agreement implemented for this project offers an interesting model for further wind farm development in this market.”
“We’re delighted to be able to build yet another onshore wind farm, this time for Allianz and Google,” said Johan Ihrfelt, CEO of O2. “We’ll be using the latest generation 3MW turbines to ensure we get the maximum efficiency out of Maevaara’s great wind conditions.”
“This arrangement is possible thanks to Scandinavia’s integrated electricity market and grid system, Nord Pool,” the company wrote in a blog. “It enables us to buy the wind farm’s output in Sweden with Guarantee of Origin certification and consume an equivalent amount of power at our data center in Finland. We then ‘retire’ the Guarantee of Origin certificates to show that we’ve actually used the energy.”
The move helps the environment, but also protects Google from future increases in power prices through long term purchasing. The company is investing in new renewable energy projects that will deliver a return for its money. Over $1 billion has been committed to such projects in the U.S., Germany, and last week, in South Africa.