Google to buy Iowa wind power and sell it to grid

Google Inc. announced plans today to buy 114 megawatts of wind energy from an Iowa wind farm and sell it to the grid.

Under the 20-year contract, NextEra Energy Resources will begin deliveries July 30 from its Story II Wind Energy Center, then Google will sell the electricity to the regional spot market in hopes of stimulating demand for renewable energy, company executives said.

The deal is the first for Google Energy LLC, an entity formed by the technology giant in December 2009 with the stated intent of greening the company's operations. The license that Google obtained from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also allows it to sell electricity in regulated markets (E&ENews PM, Feb. 18).

Google is also buying the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the electricity. It will use the RECs to offset its own carbon emissions, before selling the energy back into the grid. Google did not disclose the terms of the power purchase agreement.

"We have not previously purchased RECs because when disassociated from their source, we feel the environmental benefits are diluted," Google spokesman Jamie Yood said. "So instead of just buying 'naked' RECs, we're buying the green power directly, with a long-term commitment that helps free up capital for the developer to build more wind projects."

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