Google has signed an offshore wind energy deal with energy company Engie that will allow the tech giant’s UK operations to operate at or near 90% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis in 2025, up from a projected 67%.

The long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) is for 100MW of carbon-free energy from the Moray West offshore wind farm in Scotland. When the PPA goes live in 2025, it will make the UK one of six Google Cloud regions – including Finland, Iowa, Montreal, Spain and Toronto – to operate at or near 90% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis. 

Google is aiming to operate using 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. (Photo by achinthamb via Shutterstock)

Google has purchased renewable energy since 2010, and in 2017 became one of the first major companies to match 100% of its annual electricity use with renewable energy purchases. It has continued to do so for five consecutive years. However, while matching annual energy consumption with renewable energy purchases helps reduce emissions, there are still regions and times of day where clean energy is unavailable. As a result, the company is now working towards the more ambitious goal of eliminating emissions and operating on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. 

Google says its decarbonisation drive has driven the development of more than 60 new clean energy projects with a combined capacity of more than 7GW – about the same as 20 million solar panels.  

“People across the UK and Europe are increasingly worried about climate change and energy security,” Matt Brittin, president of Google EMEA, said in a statement. “We share that concern and believe technology is an important part of the solution – both by reducing our own emissions, and by helping others to reduce theirs.

“This new investment in UK renewable energy brings us one step closer to reaching our goal of operating entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030, and means that, in the UK, we’ll be running on at or near 90% carbon-free energy in 2025.”

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Pursuing 24/7 carbon-free energy means aiming to meet every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumption with carbon-free sources – for example wind, solar or nuclear power – every hour of every day, every day of the year.