Ever since making its first contract to buy wind power from a wind farm in Oklahoma in 2012, Google has been adding to its contracts nationally for renewable energy sources.The latest is a deal to buy 140 megawatts of solar power from the Texas operation of Candela Renewables.
Candela’s independent utility-scale solar power project has yet to be built but the two-year old firm is moving ahead following the purchase agreement with Google.
This corporate move continues a renewable energy procurement effort that ramped up in September 2019, when Google announced a planned 1.6-gigawatt (GW) package of agreements that included 18 new energy deals reported Environmental Energy Leader.
“Together, these deals will increase our worldwide portfolio of wind and solar agreements by more than 40%, to 5.5 GW — equivalent to the capacity of a million solar rooftops,” CEO Sundar Pichai said at the time. “Our latest agreements will also spur the construction of more than $2 billion in new energy infrastructure, including millions of solar panels and hundreds of wind turbines spread across three continents.”
Last fall Pichai said that Google’s planned purchases included 490 MW in Texas. Besides being notable for their size, the agreements in the US were also remarkable due to their emphasis on solar, he added.
“Up to now, most of our renewable energy purchases in the US have been wind-driven, but the declining cost of solar — down more than 80% in the past decade — has made harnessing the sun increasingly cost-effective,” Pichai observed.
In 2012, Google first bought electricity from the Grand River Dam Authority as part of its intentions to increase renewable energy consumption. At the time, it announced plans to buy poweer from the GRDA’s interest in the Canadian Hills wind farm near El Reno, Oklahoma and planned to use the electricity to operate its massive data center in Pryor in the northeastern part of the state.
Google’s data center in Pryor is the second biggest in the world and two years ago, made a $600 million four-story addition.
The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance ranked Google second behind Facebook in its Deal Tracker of 2019’s Top 10 Large Energy Buyers in the US, published in February. Google’s total was 1.107 GW compared to Facebook’s 1.546 GW.
Former First Solar executives founded Candela Renewables in 2018. Since then, the developer said it has put together a portfolio that includes more than 3.6 gigawatts of utility-scale solar projects as well as 2.2 GW of co-located energy storage. Apple is an offtaker for their 280-MW California Flats project, and Microsoft signed an agreement for power from the 150-MW Sunstream S2 project in Arizona.
Source: Environmental Energy Leader