Utilities, Commercial, Wind - May 15, 2019
Potential Google data center gets wind power nod
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a series of contracts between Google and Xcel Energy to provide electricity for Google’s proposed new $600 million data center in Becker, Minn. Two wind farms operated by Xcel would be dedicated to the project.
A report from Minnesota Public Radio noted that this week was the first time Google has publicly acknowledged the deal, though it has been in the works for months. The agreement calls for Xcel to sell Google about 300 acres of land for the data center and supply enough renewable energy to service their power needs.
The city of Becker's Mayor Tracy Bertram wants the project to help transition the community from a coal-based economy as two of Xcel Energy’s nearby coal-fired plans are scheduled to close. "Google will be the anchor tenant in our business park that will help attract even more capital investments, provide professional level wages, a new economy of jobs and a long-term economic vitality," she said.
The report noted, “It's not clear if Google is looking at other potential locations for the data center, and the company has not yet indicated when it will make a final decision about the Becker proposal.”
SED's View: This deal represents the kind of partnership and collaboration that we'd like to see more utilities participate in. Xcel's efforts to navigate the energy transition and meet the needs of their large power users is to be commended as solid leadership in the sector.