Google announced that it plans to invest another $600 million for an expansion of its data center in Lenoir, North Carolina.
The Lenoir data center project was announced by Google in 2007 with an initial investment of $600 million, so their total investment in Lenoir now stands at $1.2 billion.
The data center is now fully operational and already has 110 employees.
Google Data Center Operations Manager Enoch Moeller.said in a statement that when the company builds data centers, they choose sites big enough to accommodate future growth in a location where they can establish long-term commitments with the community.
Google has stated previously that it chose the Lenoir location because it offers the right combination of energy infrastructure and developable land.
The land will certainly come in handy for this latest $600 million expansion. As for the energy infrastructure – that is the real news today.
Google announced that it has managed to convince Duke Energy, which provides the power consumed by this data center, to provide a separate green tariff for companies like Google that want to purchase renewable energy.
Up to now, the problem with North Carolina’s data center cluster was that they could only be as green as Duke Energy was.
Duke has separate tariffs for home users, companies, and large-scale companies such as Google. What they will do now (if the state regulators approve it) is add one more green tariff category for companies that wish to buy power that comes from a renewable source.
Gary Demasi, Director, Global Infrastructure, Google, pointed out in a blog post the advantages of this approach where companies without the resources to directly generate clean energy on-site can use their utility company’s strength in power generation and delivery.
Google has previously published a whitepaper advocating this concept. Duke Energy will now be filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission within the next three months. If approved, they will run a pilot test of this approach with Google for the Lenoir data center.
Paul Newton, Duke Energy state president for North Carolina, said the proposed renewable rate plan would help companies such as Google to enhance their sustainability efforts and boost the use of renewable energy in North Carolina.
Google has sunk a billion dollars into alternative energy ventures that can provide wind and solar power, and some of that may end up being actually used by Google in Lenoir if Duke decides to purchase renewable energy.