AES pooling clean energy resources to power Google data centers

Virginia-based AES Corp. will supply nearly carbon-free electricity to power Google’s data centers in the state.

The power generator announced it will become sole supplier of the tech giant’s data-center needs for clean energy. Under the agreement AES will start supply later this year.

See our interview with AES Chief Operating Officer Bernerd Da Santos

See PE’s full coverage of On-Site Power and Microgrids

AES will source the energy needed from a portfolio of wind, solar, hydro and battery storage which will be developed or contracted by the utility. The utility will ensure the energy powering those data centers will be 90% carbon-free when measured on an hourly basis

“Last year, Google set an ambitious sustainability goal of committing to 100% 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. Today, we are proud that through our collaboration with Google, we are making 24/7 carbon-free energy a reality for their data centers in Virginia,” said Andrés Gluski, AES President and CEO. “This first-of-its-kind solution, which we co-created with Google, will set a new sustainability standard for companies and organizations seeking to eliminate carbon from their energy supply.”
AES assembled the 500 MW portfolio from a combination of AES’ own renewable energy projects and those of third-party developers, which were selected, sized and contracted to meet Google’s energy needs across a number of considerations, including cost efficiency, additionality and carbon-free energy profile. The portfolio assembled by AES is expected to require approximately $600 million of investment and generate 1,200 jobs, both permanent and construction, in the host communities.

This supply agreement follows on the strategic alliance AES and Google formed in November 2019 to leverage Google Cloud technology to accelerate innovation in energy distribution and management and advance the adoption of clean energy.

“Not only is this partnership with AES an important step towards achieving Google’s 24/7 carbon-free energy goal, it also lays a blueprint for other companies looking to decarbonize their own operations,” says Michael Terrell, Director of Energy at Google. “Our hope is that this model can be replicated to accelerate the clean energy transition, both for companies and, eventually, for power grids.” 

AES has worked or is developing numerous carbon-free energy projects globally, including a partnership with Kaua’I Island Utility in Hawaii and energy storage sites in California, Arizona and elsewhere.

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Renewables, energy storage and on-site power are all key parts of POWERGEN International, happening Jan. 26-28 in Dallas, Texas. The POWERGEN Call for Speakers is now open and seeking content for tracks such as Decarbonization, Digitalization, Energy Storage Breakthroughs, the Future of Electricity, Hydrogen: What’s New, Optimizing Plant Performance, the New Energy Mix (on-site power) and Trends in Conventional Power. Click here to see more and submit a session idea.

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