Monday, 28 April 2014

Google and MidAmerican Energy Announce Renewable Energy Deal

When MidAmerican Energy first sought approval for its Wind VIII project last year, the company was hoping to land a number of high-profile partners willing to help their efforts by purchasing renewable power from them.  One of those partners has been secured thanks to a recent deal between MidAmerican and Google.  MidAmerican Energy's Iowa site has been chosen to provide up to 407 MW of wind power for Google's Council Bluffs data centre.

MidAmerican's goals for their Iowa operations include producing 1050 MW of wind power by the end of next year.  What they are providing to Google enables the Internet giant to power the first phase of the Council Bluffs data centre with 100% renewable energy.  As the Wind VIII project expands, it will be providing more wind power to successive phases of the facility.  According to sources, Google has been in negotiations with MidAmerican Energy since it undertook the data centre project in 2007.

Google Director of Global Infrastructure Gary Demasi is on record as saying his company regularly pursues a variety of opportunities for using renewable energy to power their facilities.  He went on to say that Google values their relationships with companies like MidAmerican Energy and hopes those relationships lead others in the industry to invest in renewable energy as well.  Google has certainly lived up to those comments, having already contracted for over 1 GW of renewable energy.

Keeping up with the Future

Some might view what Google is doing with some scepticism.  However, make no mistake; it is necessary if we are to keep up with a future that is coming at us faster than it ever has.  Around the world, outdated energy sources and grid systems are already stretched to their capacity; many of the world's systems are just one damaging event away from a total disaster.  Yet the technology sector is unable to slow down.

In a world where cloud computing and virtualisation are becoming the norm, the power needs of the technology industry just continue to climb.  In essence, making the world a smaller place by way of the Internet is also putting a huge strain on power systems so something has to give.

Using renewable energy sources like the VIII project in the US takes considerable strain off the existing infrastructure.  It allows companies like Google to save money while, at the same time, leaving more traditional energy for other consumers.  The more technology companies that are able to make use of renewable energy, the better off we will all be.

For technology companies like Google, the task at hand right now is to find a way to combine various renewable resources into a total package that will provide 100% of the necessary power.  None of the technologies, including solar and wind, is reliable all the time.  Systems need to be designed to increase both generation and storage capacity so that facilities like the Council Bluffs data centre never have need of grid power under any circumstance.  That is the future we need to pursue.



1 comment:

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