Google signs 20-year deal for wind power

On the day Apple was named by environmental campaigners Greenpeace as the dirtiest company in high tech, rival Google today announced the purchase of 100 megawatts of wind power via its subsidiary, Google Energy.

The power will come from a wind farm currently under construction in Oklahoma by NextEra Energy Resources.

The purchase marks the second deal by the search giant's power offshoot, which is licensed to buy and sell electricity on federally-regulated wholesale markets. Last July, Google Energy bought up power from a wind farm in Iowa, also owned by NextEra Energy Resources.

The agreement commits Google to buying the power from the 100.8MW wind farm at a fixed rate over a 20-year period.

Google's Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl told IT news site GigaOM that for regulatory reasons, the search company isn't allowed to use the energy itself - so it would be selling it on the wholesale energy markets. Weihl claimed that, unlike other companies' offset schemes, Google's plan would actually be adding clean power to the grid.

The wind energy is worth around six cents per kilowatt hour for a 20-year contract, depending on the location of the wind farm, says GigaOM.

In a statement, environmental campaign organisation Greenpeace said of the deal: "This underscores the importance of IT companies powering their revolutionary services with clean renewable energy."

Earlier today, Greenpeace released a study entitled 'How Dirty Is Your Data?', highlighting its findings that much of the power behind the growth of the Internet comes from environmentally damaging fossil fuels.

The organisation condemned what it called a "lack of transparency" that masked the "continued reliance on coal by Facebook and others to power the growth of cloud computing."

The study also named Apple as the dirtiest high-tech firm on the planet. You can read the report in full here.