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Google orders 161 MW solar capacity in Denmark

By State of Green, September 25, 2019

In connection with its global investment in 1.6 GW of renewable energy, Google orders the first unsubsidised solar farm in Denmark.

Google is buying its largest piece of renewable energy to date. This entails that the US tech giant will cover a part its Danish date centers’ expected power consumption from green sources, EnergyWatch reports. The total investment consists of 18 new projects with a combined capacity of 1,600 MW and includes five Danish solar farms totaling 161 MW, Google informs in a statement.

These solar facilities will be located in Morsø, Gimming near Randers, Norddjurs, Rødby Fjord and Næstved. The first three are projected to become operational in the summer of 2020, while the last two will follow in the autumn of 2020. Danish company Better Energy will develop the installations in Gimming, Randers and Næstved, while the other two will be installed by domestic developer European Energy.

“We are extremely pleased that Google wants to create projects with us to power its data centres and we are equally happy that Lolland and Morsø municipalities will cooperate with us in this green energy transition [project],” said European Energy Chief Executive Knud Erik Andersen.

Five Danish solar farms

  • Gimming (17 MW, Better Energy)
  • Norddjurs (23 MW, Better Energy)
  • Næstved (41 MW, Better Energy)
  • Morsø (25 MW, European Energy)
  • Rødby Fjord (55 MW, European Energy)

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New and subsidy-free

While four of these projects were included in last year’s technology-neutral public tender, the 41 MW facility near Næstved will be the country’s first zero-subsidy solar farm, Better Energy told EnergyWatch.

In February, the project developer announced a subsidy-free solar farm rated at 125 MW with Danish fashion brand Bestseller, however, the smaller Google project in Southern Zealand will overtake that project in execution timing.

Google has entered full-output power purchase agreements with the project developers behind each of the photovoltaic facilities.

“Google is, of course, benefiting from this in the sense that it will gain a stable power source for its electricity consumption. This also provides power price predictability for the next ten years,” Better Energy CEO Rasmus Lildholdt Kjær told Danish news agency Ritzau.

“This adds green electricity to Denmark’s energy supply, and that means that Google will not be tapping existing green capacity, but will rather be adding new green power that matches the new consumption placed in Denmark,” he added.

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Beyond these solar farms, Google also announced renewable energy investments in the US, Chile, Sweden, Finland and Belgium.

The largest single deal is in the US and entails the tech company buying power from a 490 MW solar farm in Taxas, while other PV installations will be set up both in North and South Carolina.

In Chile, Google has ordered its first hybrid plant, consisting of 125 MW of of wind and solar. Meanwhile in the rest of Europe, 286 MW will be installed in Sweden, 255 in Finland and 92 MW in Belgium.

From wind to solar

These new deals push the tech company’s green PPA volume up to a combined capacity of 5,475 MW. The latest additions are somewhat technologically unique compared to Google’s previous PPA engagements.

“Up to now, most of our renewable energy purchases in the US have been wind-driven, but the declining cost of solar has made harnessing the sun increasingly cost-effective,” Google writes in the press release.

This has also been the case in Denmark. But European Energy – which develops both solar and wind – doesn’t think this will be the general picture in the future.

“It is correct that solar has become more competitive, which was also underlined in last year’s tender, which allocated equally between solar and wind. However, with the policy changes regarding maximum [wind turbine] height and the new 5 MW turbines that supply extremely cheap power, we expect that wind will continue to very competitive,” Andersen said.

“One should rather see it as two technologies that are both driving down prices on a global scale.”

Sources

EnergyWatch

Google

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