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Google Floats Renewable Energy Data Center Plan

• Martin LaMonica via

Google has spent more than $1 billion in solar and wind energy projects but it ultimately has no control over the fuel that produces the electricity that powers its data centers. Google today is proposing a new tariff to buy renewable energy directly from utilities, a model it hopes will help scale renewable energy for data centers and other big energy consumers.

At its Lenore, North Carolina data center, Google today is announcing plans to spend $600 million to expand there, which is on top of the $600 million it has already spent. In tandem with the event, local power provider Duke Energy says it will submit a renewable energy tariff to the state utility commission within 90 days. The tariff would allow large power consumers, such as the many data centers in North Carolina, to buy renewable energy from specific projects in the area.

Cloud computing companies have come under public pressure for the considerable amount of energy data centers use. Google has improved the efficiency of its data centers and has invested in various ways to promote large-scale solar and wind. But existing approaches have limitations.

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