Data centers are the engines of the Internet. As the next billion users come online—whether making payments from a mobile phone in Nairobi or sequencing DNA at Broad Institute in Boston—we need to increase our capacity to serve them, and keep things running blazing fast.
Today we’re announcing what will become our 15th global data center—we’re thrilled to be named new owners of the former Hemlock Semiconductor site in Montgomery County, Tennessee.
When selecting any site, we look at the unique attributes and base our designs around them to build the most efficient and high-performing data centers possible. For example, our newest data center in Alabama, U.S. will be built on the site of a coal power plant, and in Hamina, Finland we built on an old paper mill and use seawater as the sole cooling mechanism.
The Hemlock site was originally developed as a Semiconductor manufacturing plant, but unfortunately was never completed. We’ll be able to re-use much of the existing infrastructure, and will recycle and re-design what we don’t. Based on our assessments, this site will be able to house new technologies we’re currently testing in research & development, which would make this data center the most technologically advanced in the world.
We are excited to again be working with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who will be our electricity provider at this site. Thanks to an arrangement with TVA we’ll be able to scout new renewable energy projects and work with them to bring that power onto their electrical grid; another step toward Google’s ultimate goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy. As the largest corporate energy purchaser in the world, we have signed 2 gigawatts of renewable energy supply contracts to offset the power used across our portfolio of data centers—equivalent to taking nearly 1 million cars off the road.
It’s a real pleasure to be moving into this space, and to become a part of Montgomery County. Total investments in this project will amount to more than $600 million, and we’ll start engaging with city and county officials to launch a formal community grants program around three issues: science and technology education, clean energy, and access to the Internet.
While opening a data center can take years, we can’t wait to get to the drawing board to design the next internet engine in our lineup. Good things come to those who wait!
Posted by Joe Kava, VP, Data Center Operations
In May 2013, we announced
our first renewable energy investment in Africa. The Jasper Power Project is a 96-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, near Postmasburg. There is a lot of potential for solar in a country where the sun shines year round. From virtually no renewable energy in 2011, South Africa has awarded close to 4 gigawatts (GW) in wind and solar contracts to become one of the fastest growing renewable energy markets in the world.
Today, we’re happy to contribute to that momentum. The Jasper Project has completed construction and is capturing sunlight nearly two months ahead of schedule. In fact, with 325,000 PV modules, it is the largest solar energy plant in Africa. The project, developed and funded by SolarReserve, Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, is also backed by Rand Merchant Bank, the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.
|Jasper Power Project PV panels|
During construction, the Jasper Project created over 800 on-site construction jobs. As part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP
), the project will also set aside a percentage of total revenues—approximately $26 million over the life of the project, for rural development and education programs.
The Jasper Project will deliver 180,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity annually for South Africa residents – enough to power up to 80,000 households. It’s promising to see South Africa continue to take advantage of its abundant wind and solar resources to bring more clean energy to the country’s power grid. The government has set an ambitious goal of generating 18 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030 and the Jasper Project is an important step into addressing the power shortages afflicting the country.
Posted by Coy Ross, Google energy asset manager
(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)
We recently finalized an investment that will put a 82MW solar power plant on top of an old oil and gas field in Kern County, Calif. The new deal with SunEdison will generate enough energy to power 10,000 homes.
Our investment in the Regulus solar project will give new life to a long-valued piece of land, and there's something a little poetic about creating a renewable resource on land that once creaked with oil wells. Over the years, this particular site in California has gone from 30 oil wells to five as it was exhausted of profitable fossil fuel reserves. The land sat for some time and today we’re ready to spiff things up. With the help of our $145 million equity commitment, SunEdison is draping it in high-tech, sleek panels that collect energy from the sun, while bringing 650 jobs to the Kern County area and 82MW of clean energy to the grid.
Like many states, California has a goal
of increasing the amount of energy procured from renewable sources. This project helps support that quest and marks 17 renewable energy investments
for Google since 2010, including five here in the Golden State.
We’re continually looking for newer, bigger and better projects that help us create a clean energy future. The more than $1.5 billion we’ve brought to these projects to date not only helps provide renewable energy to the grid and to the public, but as they perform, they allow us to invest in more renewable energy projects. This cycle makes financial sense for Google and our partners while supporting construction jobs in local communities and clean energy for the planet we share.