Two months ago, Google invested $38.8 million in two wind farms, and as out-of-the-blue as that development may have appeared to some people, it wasn’t an isolated event. This morning, Google followed up with what it’s calling a "20-year Power Purchase Agreement" involving another wind farm.
Hardnosed shareholders shouldn’t worry that the company’s throwing away its money on touchy-feely tree-hugging stuff. This deal involves enough energy ("114 watts of wind generation") to power several of Google’s data centers, and by making the contract cover such a lengthy period of time, Google’s protected itself from rising energy costs.
Environmentalists can also support the arrangement, however, as there are definite upsides for the green movement.
Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President of Operations, explained on the Official Google Blog, "By contracting to purchase so much energy for so long, we’re giving the developer of the wind farm financial certainty to build additional clean energy projects. The inability of renewable energy developers to obtain financing has been a significant inhibitor to the expansion of renewable energy."
The agreement should represent a win for just about everyone, then. It even goes a way towards addressing concerns about the formation of Google Energy, since Google’s ability to buy and sell energy came into play here.
More deals could be on the way, too. Hoelzle wrote (emphasis ours), "As we continue operating with the most energy efficient data centers and working to be carbon neutral, we’re happy to also be directly purchasing energy from renewable resources."