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Google to boost geothermal power supply to data centers through Nevada power company

Google to boost geothermal power supply to data centers through Nevada power company


A drilling rig at the Project RED site in Nevada (Source: Fervo Energy)

Google has signed the first commercial agreement with NV Energy to supply geothermal power to its data centers through Fervo Energy.

Google has signed an agreement with NV Energy, a Nevada utility and subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, to increase the geothermal power supply to its data center operations from 3.5 MW to 115 MW over approximately six years. As part of the agreement, NV Energy is working with geothermal developer Fervo Energy on the geothermal power supply.

It's noteworthy that NV Energy and Google are partnering to develop a new solution to bring a clean, reliable energy technology like enhanced geothermal to Nevada's power grid at this scale. “This innovative proposal will not be paid for by other NV Energy customers, but it will help ensure all customers can benefit from cleaner, greener energy resources,” said Doug Cannon, president and CEO of NV Energy.

“If approved, it will serve as a blueprint for other utilities and large customers in Nevada to accelerate their clean energy goals. We look forward to watching this proposal move through the regulatory process to approval and sharing it with other customers to advance the additional economic opportunities it brings to our state.”

This new contract builds on Fervo's Project Red in Nevada, which demonstrated the feasibility of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) in power generation. Since then, Fervo has reported significant improvements in drilling performance at its follow-on geothermal project at Cape Station, Utah.

Introducing new commercial models

At the heart of this partnership is the Clean Transition Tariff (CTT), a new commercial model that locks utilities and customers into long-term energy contracts to spur investment in new projects that deliver a clean and reliable electricity grid.

Typically, companies procure clean energy, primarily wind and solar power, through power purchase agreements (PPAs) with project developers. While this approach has been successful, it also has limitations. PPAs are often disconnected from broader grid planning and utility investment processes, and weather variability can make solar and wind availability inconsistent. So to capitalize on the benefits of clean energy technologies 24/7, a new approach is needed to make it easier to invest in projects that deliver clean, reliable capacity.

NV Energy is the first utility to operationalize this new approach through its first energy supply agreement with Google. Working with developer Fervo Energy, the utility integrated 115 MW of new enhanced geothermal power into its CTT partnership with Google to realize its full capacity value.

The proposed structure currently awaits review and approval by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. If successful, the model could be replicated in many electricity markets across the US.

Source: Yahoo! Finance and Google




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