September 28, 2012

Google and Green Renewable Energy

Google is increasingly using renewable energy. Previously they've announced their commitment to carbon neutrality in 2007. They have already invested $94 million in four solar photovoltaic (PV) generators near Sacramento, CA. (See what is PV generator and how it works). These projects have PV systems with a total capacity of 88 MW. Now Google signed an agreement with their utility to supply their Oklahoma data center with 48 MW of wind energy from the Canadian Hills Wind Project.

So, let's do a little math. Depending on the utility's territory, the green power generally costs from 0.5 to 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour more than regular electricity. Assuming the best deal, which is extra $0.05/kWh, each MWh is extra $50. Then 48 MW adds extra 50x48=$2400 each hour. Over an entire year 48 MW of green electricity may cost Google 2400x24x365=$21 million dollars more. In reality, their losses may be less because renewable energy systems rarely work at their maximum capacity. On the other hand, they can be as much as $100 million is they will be charged extra 2.5 cents per kWh. Read more about Google "green" energy activity.