Google makes data centres in Europe run on carbon-free energy

Google makes data centres in Europe run on carbon-free energy

Google announces the largest offshore wind project the tech giant ever launched. This project will be located entirely in the Netherlands. The power generated will power Dutch data centres and offices. In Poland, Italy and Belgium, the company is also signing agreements to run Google locations on cleaner energy.

90 percent of the energy used by Google’s data centres and offices in the Netherlands must be carbon-free by 2024. The company says so in a press release. The search engine giant can make that happen with a large-scale offshore wind project.

The company’s offices and data centres in Belgium will use 80 percent carbon-free energy. This involves a new agreement with Aspiravi and energy supplier Luminus to support onshore wind farms operated by these parties. The total capacity of these farms is 84 megawatts.

An agreement to support an onshore wind farm has been signed in Italy. This will be good for running offices and cloud operations in Milan and Turin on 90 percent carbon-free energy. In Poland, the same target will be met from 2025 for the entire cloud region through a solar farm.

With promises that are good for the environment, it is always important to clarify exactly what the promise means. Carbon-free energy, which Google’s data centres will therefore use, is energy generated by a source that itself does not emit carbon. The means Google uses here are wind turbines.

Two wind farms in the Netherlands

For the project, Google signed a contract with Crosswind and Ecowende Consortia. These are joint ventures between Shell and Eneco. No government money came into play for the project.

The offshore wind project will shape two wind farms: HKN V and HKW VI. These will produce a total of 478 megawatts of carbon-free energy capacity. That would make up for about 6 percent of the Netherlands’ annual electricity consumption through the joint ventures, according to the company.

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