Google searches for European wind

Google is looking to invest heavily in European wind, having already spent more than $1.5bn on 2GW of projects in the US and elsewhere, the internet giant’s director of global infrastructure told EWEA 2014 yesterday.

“This is definitely an open call [for opportunities],” François Sterin told the Outside the Box panel session.

Over the past decade, Google, which has been carbon-neutral since 2007, has emerged as one of the world’s largest investors in wind and solar, currently obtaining 34% of its electricity from renewable sources.

It is looking into both power-purchase agreements (PPAs) and project ownership in Europe — its only wind-related investments on the continent so far being 131MW of PPAs from five Swedish wind farms.

“Google is not married to Sweden, so this is definitely an open call for similar opportunities in other parts of Europe,” he said.

“We are cost-centred, but if over ten years we get a good cost, we are happy to make a commitment."

He added: “We don’t want to say ‘we have a plant [data centre] in Belgium, so we need a project in Belgium’.

"If we can make energy in another country, where a project makes sense for everybody and [we can] transport [the energy] to our site, then that’s what we would like to do.”

Google wants to fuel its continuing growth with renewable electricity, and is seeking to diversify its energy sources geographically and technologically, Sterin added.