Google just signed a deal with a Softbank subsidiary to buy 75 percent of the power from four solar power plants the Japanese company is building in Texas, the largest combined clean energy purchase Google has made in Lone Star state.
SB Energy, the Softbank subsidiary that is building the solar arrays, said the four Dallas-area arrays could generate 1.2 gigawatts of electricity when completed in 2024. About 900 megawatts of this capacity will be sold to Google via a power purchase agreement (PPA). .
Earlier this year, Google announced that it plans to invest $9.5 billion in US offices and facilities, including new offices in Austin, Texas, and additional investments in its Midlothian data center south of Dallas, which is owned by benefited from the PPA with SB Energy.
“Within the decade, we aim to have every Google data center running on clean electricity every hour of the day,” Google Energy Lead Sana Ouji was quoted as saying by SB Energy in announcing the deal.
Google has been careful to announce its pledge to go fully carbon-free by 2030, which would help buying solar power from SB Energy in the Midlothian region, where just 40 percent currently exists [PDF] of the electricity Google uses comes from renewable sources.
Incredibly, Google claimed that in 2020 it wiped out its entire historical carbon footprint by investing in so-called “high-quality carbon offsets.” In addition, the search giant said it has been carbon neutral since 2007 and has been powered by 100 percent renewable energy since 2017, well how it defines the terms [PDF] anyway.
Being 100 percent renewable is “achieved by purchasing enough renewable energy to meet annual electricity consumption,” Google said, which reduces emissions but doesn’t eliminate them entirely — that’s Google’s goal for 2030, at least for the associated Scope 2 emissions with operational electricity consumption.
Scope 1 emissions from assets owned and controlled by the company and Scope 3 emissions from indirect impacts have gradually decreased [PDF] for Google in recent years, albeit with a jump from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Google isn’t quite there as far as its goal of operating on completely carbon-free energy by 2030 is concerned, and its 2022 environmental report (linked above) shows that the company’s Scope 2 emissions have actually increased over the past five years.
Google said that in 2021, 66 percent of its data center’s electricity use “has been matched to regional zero-carbon sources” like those set up in Texas, but $9.5 billion in plant expansions could see that number drop before it is improving. Meanwhile, the year 2030 is fast approaching. ®
https://www.theregister.com/2022/11/02/google_solar_power_texas/ Google taps into Softbank solar power for Dallas data center • The Register