Google Invests in Wind and Solar Again

Last year, Warren Buffet’s utility, MidAmerican Energy,  announced it would add over 1 gigawatt of wind in Iowa, and between Facebook and Google’s data centers there, they will consume over half of that. 

This week, Google signed onto receiving 407 megawatts (MW) – amazing how much energy a data center consumes – and Facebook, 138 MW.

Google’s second data center in Iowa is under construction on 1,000 acres in the western part of the state. Its agreement with MidAmerican covers future expansion as well. They chose Iowa because of the access to 100% renewable energy, availability of developable land and the workforce, they say.

Google Iowa Data Center

The wind farms come online by the end of 2015, "the largest economic development investment in the history of the state," says Governor Terry Branstad. Besides giving Iowa a big boost from property taxes, the wind farms will lower electricity rates by $10 million a year by 2017, and the development resulted in the biggest order for wind turbines ever, manufactured in Iowa and Kansas.

Wind now produces 27% of Iowa electricity, the most of any state. With 5.1 GW, it serves 1.4 million households.   

Google also announced it is investing solar again, this time creating a $250 million solar leasing fund with SunPower.  Google is chipping in $100 million and Sunpower, $150 million, which pays for the solar panel systems that customers lease.

In the past, Google invested in solar leasing funds with SolarCity – which in 2011, created the largest residential solar fund in the US – and also with competitor Clean Power Finance.  

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