Google Eemshaven Data Centre Powered By Dutch Windmills

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Google flashes its impressive green credentials with a data centre powered 100 percent by Dutch windmills

Google has selected a next generation Dutch windmill (or wind turbine) farm to provide the power for a data centre currently under construction in north Holland.

Google signed the deal to power its Eemshaven data centre with 100 percent renewable energy after reaching an agreement with the Dutch power company Eneco.

WindfarmDutch Windmills

Google revealed the development in a blog posting by Francois Sterin, director of the company’s global infrastructure team. Eneco is constructing an onshore-offshore wind farm that will use 19 turbines to generate 62 MW of renewable energy. The windfarm is expected to bring in 80 jobs to the area.

“Thanks to a new long-term agreement signed this week with Dutch power company Eneco, our Eemshaven data centre will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy from its first day of operation, scheduled for the first half of 2016,” wrote Sterin. “We’ve agreed to buy the entire output of a new Eneco windfarm – currently under construction at Delfzijl, near Eemshaven – for the next ten years.”

Google has a notable reputation when it comes to green tech. Its Eemshaven data centre is located 133 miles northwest of Amsterdam, at the landing point of a transatlantic cable linking Europe with the US. The new site, set to begin operations in 2017, will be a 120-megawatt facility employing about 150 permanent staff.

The search engine giant said that long-term agreements like this allow it increase the amount of renewable energy its consume, whilst also helping enabling the construction of new renewable energy facilities by wind farm developers.

Earlier this year Google contracted Swedish renewable energy expert Eolus to build four wind farms to power its data centre in Hamina, Finland.

“This marks our eighth long-term agreement to purchase renewable energy around the globe,” wrote Sterin. “We sign these contracts for a few reasons: they make great financial sense for us by guaranteeing a long term source of clean energy for our data centre and they also increase the amount of renewable energy available in the grid, which is great for the environment.”

Green Credentials

Google has an impressive track record regarding renewable energy, including solar and wind farms. In 2011, it invested $100m (£70m) in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm project in Oregon.

In October 2010 it provided funding for the Atlantic Wind Connection backbone, which is meant to power offshore windmills by connecting undersea cables along the Atlantic coastline.

Prior to that May 2010 it pumped $38.8 million (£23.8m) into two NextEra wind farms in North Dakota.

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