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Has Google Teamed Up with a Nevada Utility for Geothermal Power?

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Google has agreed with Berkshire Hathaway's electric utility, NV Energy, to power its Nevada data centers using advanced geothermal electricity. Announced on Wednesday, this deal will increase the geothermal electricity supplied to Google from 3.5 to 115 megawatts over the next six years, pending approval from state utility regulators.


This agreement supports Google's goal of operating entirely on clean energy by 2030. The need for large amounts of electricity for data centers, driven by technologies like generative AI and cloud computing, prompts major tech companies to seek sustainable energy solutions. This year alone, Google has announced plans to invest at least $4 billion to build or expand data centers in Indiana, Missouri, and Virginia.


Currently, 64% of Google’s global operations are powered by carbon-free energy, such as wind and solar. The partnership with NV Energy introduces a new approach for companies with significant electricity needs and climate goals to secure power in regulated markets. In these markets, power must be purchased from the local utility rather than directly from a power generator, which can complicate efforts to source entirely clean energy.


Google's involvement in NV Energy's power generation planning led to the creation of the Clean Transition Tariff, a rate structure they hope to replicate nationwide. A similar agreement with Duke Energy was announced last month, involving Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.


To support this deal, NV Energy has signed a power purchase agreement with advanced geothermal developer Fervo Energy, supplying Google with 3.5 megawatts of power since 2021 through a pilot program.


Unlike solar and wind, which depend on weather conditions, geothermal energy provides a constant power source by using natural underground heat. Geothermal energy accounts for about 10% of Nevada’s total electricity generation, the highest percentage of any U.S. state, according to the Energy Information Administration.



Key Points

  • Major Geothermal Energy Deal: Google has partnered with NV Energy to significantly boost geothermal electricity for its Nevada data centers, increasing from 3.5 megawatts to 115 megawatts over six years.

  • Support for Clean Energy Goals: This agreement aligns with Google's aim to operate entirely on clean energy by 2030 and highlights the company's commitment to sustainable energy solutions.

  • Strategic Partnership and Innovation: The deal includes a new rate structure called the Clean Transition Tariff, developed by Google and NV Energy, which could serve as a model for other regions.


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FAQs

Q1. What is the main purpose of Google's agreement with NV Energy?

The agreement aims to power Google's Nevada data centers with advanced geothermal electricity, increasing the supply from 3.5 megawatts to 115 megawatts over six years.


Q2. Why is Google focusing on geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy provides a constant and reliable source of renewable electricity, helping Google achieve its goal of running entirely on clean energy by 2030.


Q3. What is the Clean Transition Tariff?

The Clean Transition Tariff is a new rate structure developed by Google and NV Energy to facilitate the use of geothermal energy. It could be replicated in other parts of the country to support clean energy goals.


Q4. What other clean energy initiatives has Google announced recently?

Google has announced plans to spend at least $4 billion this year to build or expand data centers in Indiana, Missouri, and Virginia, further supporting its clean energy initiatives.


Q5. Who is Fervo Energy and what is their role in this deal?

Fervo Energy is an advanced geothermal developer supplying Google with geothermal power. They are currently providing 3.5 megawatts and will be a key player in increasing this capacity.


Q6. What percentage of Nevada’s electricity comes from geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy accounts for about 10% of Nevada's total electricity generation, the highest percentage of any state in the U.S.


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