First of all, what is the link between wind energy and Google, any idea ? It’s very simple: the Internet giant needs energy resources to power its (many) data centers. And wind energy is an excellent opportunity, as Vincent Martet explains through this article.
A partnership on the Finnish territory, explained by Vincent Martet
On September 11, 2018, the technology giant Google announced its intention to conclude an energy contract with the French company Neoen (the first independent producer of renewable energy). Indeed, the French renewable energy company currently owns the most part (80%) of a wind farm located in Hedet, Finland. The partnership between the two companies will enable Neoen to sell all of its electrical energy produced by the plant to the American web giant, » Vincent Martet explains. The latter will then use this clean energy to power its data center in the south-east of the country, in the city of Hamina, since 2011.
In other words, 18 turbines producing a total of 81 megawatts will provide the data center with electrical energy.
Google wants to reduce its energy footprint
Did you know that two Google searches needed the producing of 14 grams of Co2? Moreover, the wind turbine expert Vincent Martet adds that the American giant owns many data centers that need large amounts of electrical energy around the world. But we don’t necessarily think about the water consumption that data centers also represent: this natural resource is indeed mainly necessary to cool those data centers.
However, Google is already working on the use of clean and renewable energy. For water, for example, the giant of the Sillicon Valley did not hesitate to use the « free wild water cooling » technique, i.e. cooling servers using naturally cold and untreated water.
This technique is applied in Finland in the data center of the city of Hamina where Google draws cold water naturally present in the surrounding fjords, explains Vincent Martet. Another example of a rather funny green technique regards the data center located in the American state of Georgia with no access to the sea. There is consequently not any possibility to use seawater to cool the servers. However, Google has been ingenious in using part of the city’s wastewater network (Douglasville) to cool its servers.
Faced with the energy challenges of today and tomorrow, Google has, in addition to wind turbines in Finland, taken measures to promote renewable energies, which Vincent Martet will introduce to you. In 2010, for example, a quarter of its electricity consumption came from renewable energy sources.
It has also built LEED-certified structures (North American ecological standardization system), implemented a shuttle system for its employees (to reduce pollution from private cars) and powered its campus located in Mountain View with solar panels (total annual production 3 million kWh). Another example, focused on wind energy (Vincent Martet’s professional field), is the acquisition of the American start-up Makani Power using autonomous wings equipped with turbines to produce electricity. Finally, the major web group had also acquired an EDF (French company electricity provider) wind farm in Texas to feed its databases.