Google Buys Wind Energy For Oklahoma Data Centre
Google’s wind energy gets Greenpeace going
Google has signed a deal to power a data centre in Oklahoma with wind energy, and Greenpeace has hailed the announcement.
Grand River Dam Authority may sound like a hydro-electric provider, but it is moving into wind power for the first time, to sell Google 48MW of wind-generated renewable electricity to run the tech giant’s data centre in Pryor, Oklahoma. Greenpeace, which has criticised cloud providers who use dirty electricity, said the agreement is a model of how tech firms can influence the market and stimulate utilities to offer renewable power.
Where the wind energy blows
“Google’s announcement today shows what the most forward-thinking, successful companies can accomplish when they are serious about powering their operations with clean energy,” said Gary Cook, senior IT analyst for Greenpeace, in a statement. “Google faced a local grid mix of over 50 percent coal power for its Oklahoma data centre. But as a major electricity customer in the state, Google worked with its local utility to secure a new supply of renewable wind energy.”
This adds up to a coherent green strategy, which has earned kudos from Greenpeace. It said Google was sending “a signal to other IT companies and electric utilities around the world that renewable energy is not only possible, but is simply smart business in the 21st century economy.”
Greenpeace’s Dirty Data campaign has been mixed at best: it organised protests at Apple’s headquarters just as the iPhone maker was preparing to announce 100 percent renewable energy for its data centres.
Despite this, Greenpeace takes a partisan line, criticising Microsoft’s failure to follow through on a carbon neutrality pledge, and urging the public to use Google instead of Microsoft’s Bing. “While both Google and Microsoft have committed to being ‘carbon neutral,’ unlike Google, Microsoft has yet to significantly invest in clean energy,” said Cook.
“Microsoft has instead continue to build data centres attached to dirty sources of electricity and sought to mask its dirty energy supply with carbon offsets and renewable energy credits. If Microsoft wants environmentally-minded customers to choose Bing, Outlook and its Microsoft Office cloud, it needs to follow Google’s lead and invest in renewable energy.”
Microsoft’s green credentials took another knock this week as a New York Times report found it was deliberately wasting electricity – admittedly from a hydroelectric source – in order to avoid a penalty from its utility for underconsuming
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