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Google abandons 'new model for clean energy' in geothermal power deal The Register

Google abandons 'new model for clean energy' in geothermal power deal The Register


Google has signed a deal with NV Energy to power its Nevada data centers using geothermal energy, in a deal the giant claims is more progressive than existing renewable energy contracts.

The Mountain View-based company described the deal as a “clean energy partnership” with NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and argued it would meet growing electricity demand cleanly and reliably.

The partnership builds on a geothermal power pilot project the search and cloud giant conducted last year with startup Fervo Energy. While the project only delivered about 3.5 MW of energy, Google said it proved that Fervo's technology could deliver geothermal power at a commercial scale.

The deal, which now must be approved by state regulators, expands the amount of power Fervo can supply to the local grid through NV Energy to 115 MW.

The agreement is what Google calls the Clean Transition Tariff (CTT), and as the company explains in a blog post, it claims it is the result of working with partners across the US to create a new, scalable pathway for utilities and large energy users to invest in clean energy capacity as an alternative to power purchase agreements (PPAs).

While Google was a pioneer in PPAs, it says they currently have limitations, such as existing in isolation from broader grid planning and utility investment processes. Weather variability can mean that the availability of solar and wind power is inconsistent, and Google argues that fully decarbonizing electricity requires other technologies that can deliver clean power whenever it is needed.

The proposed structure is pending review and approval by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, but Google believes it could help realize the company's ambition to run its data centers and office campuses entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030.

NV Energy President and CEO Doug Cannon said in a statement that while the proposal would not be paid for by other NV Energy customers, it would help ensure all customers can benefit from cleaner, greener energy.

“If approved, this will provide a blueprint for other utilities and large customers in Nevada to accelerate the achievement of their clean energy goals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Google rival Amazon reportedly scrapped plans to use fuel cells to power its data centers in Oregon this week.

As The Register reported last year, Amazon had plans to switch some of its Oregon data centers over to fuel cells, but with natural gas instead of green hydrogen. These would serve as the primary energy supply, providing 24.3 MW of power to each of the three data center sites.

However, local media outlet Oregon Live reported that Amazon quietly withdrew its regulatory application for fuel cells.

This may have something to do with complaints from environmentalists, who argued that the plan would not only contribute to climate change, but also make the Amazon a major customer for the controversial Gas Transmission Northwest Pipeline, which would run from British Columbia to California.




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