September 26th, 2012 – Today Google and the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) announced a joint agreement for GRDA to supply Google’s Mayes County, Oklahoma data center with 48 MW of wind energy from the Canadian Hills Wind project in west central Oklahoma. This agreement represents a milestone for both Google and GRDA: it marks the first time Google has contracted directly with a utility provider to increase its renewable energy consumption, and it is GRDA’s first wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA).
Google has been working with GRDA to procure additional renewable energy since the construction of the company’s data center in Oklahoma in 2011. Discussions began in February of 2012, when GRDA approached Google about purchasing power from the wind project. The agreement, in conjunction with the energy supply agreement already in place between Google and GRDA, calls for Google to pay GRDA a premium to purchase renewable energy.
“At Google, we pursue innovative approaches to power our operations with renewable energy,” said Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure. “We’ve been working closely with all of our utility partners to find ways to make this happen, and we believe this project will be the first of many utility partnerships to deliver renewable energy to our facilities.”
“Google’s long and demonstrated commitment to renewable energy, combined with their significant and growing presence within our service area, has been an important factor in GRDA’s pursuit of renewables, as exemplified by this agreement,” said Dan Sullivan, CEO of GRDA. “In addition to increasing Google’s access to renewable energy, we are also offsetting part of GRDA’s wind acquisition cost through the premium Google has agreed to pay. We are pleased to pass the savings along to Oklahomans, and we’re proud to pioneer this innovative structure with one of our largest customers.”
The Canadian Hills Wind Project is expected to go online later this year.
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GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility, fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. GRDA’s diverse generation portfolio includes wind, hydroelectric, coal, and natural gas generation. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable electricity serves nearly 500,000 homes in Oklahoma and stretches into 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.
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