Google Partners on Environmental Justice Program - Diversified Communications

Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 24, 2023

Google Partners on Environmental Justice Program

Google is partnering on a framework agreement to support over 80 distributed solar PV projects totaling 500 MWAC that aligns with an environmental justice program that will benefit more than 25,000 families in low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities.

The deal with EDPR NA Distributed Generation LLC will begin with projects in the PJM interconnection service area, beginning in Ohio, where Google operates a data center campus in New Albany and Google Clous region in Columbus.

The initiative is called the Clean Energy Financial Benefit Sharing Program, and will be funded partially through Google’s purchase of a renewable energy credit (REC) called the ImpactREC™. Similar to traditional RECs, these credits will be generated in and eligible for the applicable compliance market. They will also include additional covenants certifying direct community investment and direct LMI benefits.

The corporate sponsorship of distributed solar development by Google is the largest in the U.S., according to data from S&P Global and BloombergNEF.

“What we heard through interviews with local community leaders and Environmental Justice advocates was that the disproportionate impact of high energy burden remains a primary barrier to an equitable energy transition. Partnering with EDPR NA DG, we aim to reduce energy burden in the communities where we operate, while progressing toward our 24/7 carbon-free energy goal,” said Sana Ouji, Energy Lead, Google, in a statement. “We are grateful to EDPR for their partnership, collaboration and steady focus on our shared mission, and excited to have the opportunity to contribute to our data center communities by extending the benefits of our clean energy investments.”

The program includes the creation of a community impact fund valued at $12 million that will focus on initiatives reducing energy poverty in the communities where the projects are built. The initiative is made possible partly because of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in 2022, which includes tax incentives for domestic energy production and manufacturing. 

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