Google inks wind power deal in Southwest

A Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) official said Sept. 17 that the Internet search company has agreed to buy the output of Chermac Energy‘s240-MW Happy Hereford wind project near Amarillo, Texas.

Matt Pfile, Senior Manager, Data Center Energy and Location Strategy, made the announcement in a blog post.  Pfile said it was part of Google’s ongoing effort to power its operations with 100% renewable energy.

“This agreement represents our fifth long-term agreement and our largest commitment yet; we’ve now contracted for more than 570 MW of wind energy, which is enough energy to power approximately 170,000 U.S. households,” Pfile said.

The Google official said the wind project, expected to go commercial in 2014, will provide energy to the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which is the regional grid that serves Google’s Mayes County, Okla., data center. Google announced its first Mayes County data center in 2007. Then in the spring of 2012, Google announced plans to add a second data center in Mayes County.

Chermac is a Native American company with its roots in fossil fuel development in Oklahoma. In 1999, Chermac Energy started development of wind projects in Oklahoma.

Google said the structure of the deal is similar to earlier arrangements in Iowa and Oklahoma. “After purchasing the renewable energy, we’ll retire the renewable energy credits (RECs) and sell the energy itself to the wholesale market. We’ll apply any additional RECs produced under this agreement to reduce our carbon footprint elsewhere,” Pfile said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at