In late September, Google announced the groundbreaking of its newest European facility, a Netherlands data center in Eemshaven. The structure represents a more than $750 million investment by the search engine giant over the next four years to grow its service footprint in Europe.
In mid-November, Google also announced their considerable focus on data center sustainability with the Netherlands data center, and plan to power its Eemshaven facility with wind power. This marks Google's fourth "hyper-efficient facility" in the country.
Google Purchases Wind Energy to Power Data Center
Through a partnership with Dutch energy provider Eneco, Google's Netherlands data center will be completely wind powered. The partnership includes the purchase of Eneco's wind farm, which is currently being built in Delfzijl, a town near Eemshaven. Google will leverage the wind farm's energy output to power the facility from its opening day – scheduled to begin initial operations in early 2016 – through the next decade. The company plans to have the facility fully completed and operational by the end of 2017.
Once constructed, the wind farm will include a total of 19 wind turbines capable of generating 62 MW of renewable, critical power. In addition to providing a sustainable energy source, the wind farm will also offer 80 new employment opportunities for the next 18 months.
This isn't the first project of its kind for Google. The search engine giant also signed two other power purchase agreements within the last year and a half in Europe. These partnerships will provide renewable energy for its Sweden data center as well as its Hamina, Finland data center. Overall, this agreement with Eneco marks the eighth purchase agreement for renewable energy that Google has made with utility providers across the globe.
"By entering into long-term agreements like this one with wind farm developers, we've been able to increase the amount of renewable energy we consume while helping enable the construction of new renewable energy facilities," Google stated on its blog. "We sign these contracts for a few reasons: [T]hey make great financial sense for us by guaranteeing a long term source of clean energy for our data center and they also increase the amount of renewable energy available in the grid, which is great for the environment."
Google's data center sustainability approach doesn't end with wind power, however. The Netherlands data center will also leverage free-air cooling and the use of grey water to cool the facility and its servers. Overall, the company's data centers utilize about 50 percent less energy than the typical facility.