Google locks in four new Swedish wind farms for Finnish datacentre

Google's new wind power purchasing agreement will see a total of 52 new turbines sprout up in Sweden over the next two years.

Google has agreed a 10-year deal to buy the total output of four new wind farms scheduled for construction in the south of Sweden.

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The deal with Nordic operator Eolus is the second 'purchase power agreement' (PPA) Google has made in Sweden to indirectly supply power to its datacentre, more than 1,000km away in Hamina, Finland. The Finnish facility is currently undergoing a €450m expansion project that will triple its size.

The purchasing agreement will help finance the three-year construction project by Eolus to build wind farms in Alered (Falkenberg Municipality), Mungseröd (Tanum), Skalleberg (Hjo) and Ramsnäs (Laxå) — scattered across the south of Sweden.

The wind farms are expected to be up and running by 2015, consisting of 29 turbines with a total capacity of 59MW. Eolus and Google said that planning permission has been granted.

The facility will become operational at roughly the same time as 24-turbine wind farms Google and energy provider O2 are building in the north of Sweden under a similar PPA. There, Google has also guaranteed to buy the output from the farm (which has a capacity of 72MW) for 10 years.

The companies said that the PPA was possible due to Europe's increasingly integrated energy market, which is supported in Scandinavia by the Nord Pool power exchange.

The market facilitates the exchange of energy produced in one part of the energy grid for consumption in another. The exchange is made through guarantee of origin certificates that the Swedish farm issues to Google, which retires it in Finland once an equivalent amount of energy is consumed.

Google last year invested $10m in a 161MW Texas wind farm, which at the time brought its investments in renewable energy to around $1bn. The company also made similar PPAs with US wind farms in Iowa and Oklahoma.

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