Renewable energy deal aims to take Google’s UK operations to 90% carbon-free by 2025

Moray East wind farm.
Renewable energy deal aims to take Google’s UK operations to 90% carbon-free by 2025
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

Google UK has claimed it will operate at, or near, 90% carbon-free energy (CFE) on an hourly basis in 2025, from a projected 67%, thanks to a new offshore wind energy deal with ENGIE – 100 MW of carbon-free energy from Moray West offshore wind farm in Scotland. 

This milestone brings Google closer to its overarching goal of operating on carbon-free energy by 2030 across its UK offices and cloud regions. By achieving this goal, every Gmail sent, every Search query asked and every YouTube video watched, will be powered by cloud regions that run on carbon-free energy every hour of every day.

This Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) will establish the UK as one of our cleanest cloud regions not just in Europe, but in the world. This is particularly timely given the rapid expansion of computing as more British businesses look to digitally transform their operations with Google Cloud.

Google’s PPA with ENGIE will make the UK one of six Google Cloud regions – including Finland, Iowa, Montreal, Spain and Toronto – operating at or near 90% CFE, on an hourly basis, when the PPA goes live in 2025.

Carbon-free energy deals like this one are critical to the growth of the UK’s renewable energy sector: the investments add more renewable energy to the grid by funding the construction of new sites. These deals increase the country’s renewable energy sources, support long-term energy security goals and help to guarantee financing for much of the upfront cost. Deals such as these support Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ‘pledge to make the UK a clean energy superpower’ and deliver on Scotland’s aim to be an important location for offshore wind innovation, research and development. 

Matt Brittin, president of Google EMEA, said: “People across the UK and Europe are increasingly worried about climate change and energy security. We share that concern and believe technology is an important part of the solution – both by reducing our own emissions, and by helping others to reduce theirs.

This new investment in UK renewable energy brings us one step closer to reaching our goal of operating entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030, and means that, in the UK, we’ll be running on at or near 90% carbon-free energy in 2025.”

Paulo ALMIRANTE, ENGIE senior EVP in charge of Renewables, Energy Management and Nuclear Activities, said: “We are very pleased to support Google in its progress towards its carbon-free target. As a major player in PPAs, ENGIE designs innovative green corporate PPAs for off-takers from offshore wind, thanks to the strong development of Ocean Winds, as we do for our onshore renewable projects. This contract demonstrates the strength of the Group’s renewable portfolio, with 37 GW of renewable assets, a major advantage for our customers in their decarbonization strategy.”

This milestone is the latest step in Google’s goal to fully decarbonise by 2030. The company’s climate action strategy focuses on three key areas: firstly, making Google’s operations more sustainable including through innovation in energy sourcing technology, such as Google Cloud and ENGIE’s artificial intelligence project that optimises wind energy use. Secondly, supporting other organisations and cities as they decarbonise – for example Google recently partnered with C40 Cities and London Mayor Sadiq Khan to launch a first-of-its-kind 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities pilot program. 

And thirdly, empowering consumers to make more sustainable choices. We have launched fuel-efficient routing, giving people the option to choose routes optimised for lower fuel consumption. Earlier this month, Google also launched an energy information feature on Search across Europe, to help people quickly find authoritative information on saving energy and local support.

This PPA is the latest in a number of long-term investments that Google has made in the UK. In January this year, we announced the purchase of our office in Central Saint Giles, and unveiled plans to expand our presence in the UK. In July, we marked the topping out of our new site in King’s Cross.

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