Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain

4/21/11 | 8:20:00 AM

Rodgers and Hammerstein weren’t kidding when they wrote what is now Oklahoma’s official state song. The gusts on the plains are fierce, which makes the Sooner State a great place to harness clean, renewable wind energy. Our commitment to greening our energy supply is also strong, which is why we’ve just signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind energy—our second in less than a year—in Oklahoma.

The purchase is similar in size and structure to the agreement we signed last July for wind energy in Iowa, but this time we will be applying the power to our Mayes County, Okla. data center, which will be fully operational later this year. We’ve agreed to purchase all of the energy from NextEra Energy Resources’ Minco II wind facility in Oklahoma for the next 20 years, through Google Energy LLC, an entity that enables us to participate in the wholesale energy market. This 100.8 megawatt facility will be built as a direct result of our financial commitment and should be operational in late 2011.



We’ve made the commitment to be a carbon neutral company, and this purchase is part of our effort to minimize our impact on the environment. We’ve managed to reduce our energy consumption by over 50 percent by building highly energy-efficient facilities, but we know that efficiency alone isn’t enough to eliminate our carbon footprint. We’ve been exploring ways, such as this PPA, to reduce emissions further by increasing the amount of renewable energy we use to power our operations; we purchase high-quality carbon offsets for any remaining emissions.

If you’re interested in learning more about the whys and wherefores of our renewable energy purchases, we’ve just published a white paper (PDF) on the topic. Our hope is that by laying out our reasoning and methods we’ll make it easier for others in the industry to explore similar arrangements.

These purchases represent long-term, meaningful actions to reduce our carbon footprint and power our operations with clean electricity. Our infrastructure team will continue to seek similar opportunities globally as Google’s businesses continue to grow. As a company we hope that purchases like these, plus the additional $350 million we’ve invested in renewable energy projects, support the market and drive down the cost of clean energy. This will enable even more companies to invest in sustainable energy solutions.