Geothermal power in Nevada and new information centre in Malaysia

Google has teamed up with NV Energy, an electric utility subsidiary of Warren Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway, in a groundbreaking deal that will see its Nevada data centres powered with cutting-edge geothermal electricity.

Subject to regulatory approval by state utility regulators, the deal is set to nearly double the power output. This increase in carbon-free geothermal electricity will feed the local power grid for Google’s regional operations. As reported by Reuters, The plan calls for an increase from the 3.5 megawatts currently available to 115 megawatts in about six years.

This collaboration comes at a time when major technology companies are seeking vast amounts of electricity to power their expanding data centres, which are crucial for supporting emerging technologies such as generative artificial intelligence and cloud computing. The initiative aligns with Google’s ambitious goal of operating entirely on clean energy by 2030.

Google’s commitment to sustainable energy is further evidenced by its recent announcements to invest at least $4 billion in building or expanding data centres across Indiana, Missouri, and Virginia. According to the company’s latest environmental report, 64% of Google’s global operations are currently powered by carbon-free energy sources, including wind and solar.

The partnership with NV Energy represents an innovative approach for companies with substantial electricity requirements and climate objectives to source their power in regulated markets. Such regulated markets typically mandate power purchases from local utilities rather than directly from generators, which can pose challenges for companies seeking entirely clean energy sources.

This agreement involved Google’s direct participation in NV Energy’s power generation resource planning and the development of a new rate structure called the Clean Transition Tariff. Google hopes this model can be replicated in other parts of the country. A similar agreement was recently announced by Duke Energy, involving Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

To facilitate this deal, NV Energy has entered into a power purchase agreement with Fervo Energy, an advanced geothermal developer. Fervo Energy has been supplying Google with 3.5 megawatts of power since 2021 as part of a pilot program.

The focus on geothermal energy is particularly noteworthy as companies seek reliable clean energy sources to complement the intermittent nature of solar and wind power. Geothermal energy, which harnesses naturally occurring underground heat to produce renewable electricity, accounts for approximately 10% of Nevada’s total electricity generation, the highest percentage of any U.S. state.

Expanding Google’s global footprint

In a separate but related development, The Stars reported that Google has announced plans to invest $2 billion in Malaysia to establish its first data centre and Google Cloud region in the country. This project, Google’s largest planned investment in Malaysia, will be located in Sime Darby Property’s Elmina Business Park in Greater Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian government anticipates that this investment will support 26,500 jobs across various sectors and generate an economic impact of about RM15.04 billion. The data centre will power Google’s popular digital services and play a crucial role in delivering AI benefits to users across the country. The Google Cloud region, meanwhile, will provide high-performance, low-latency cloud infrastructure, analytics, and AI services to a range of organisations.

Malaysia’s investment, trade and industry minister, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, emphasised that Google’s investment aligns with the digital ambitions outlined in the New Industrial Master Plan 2030. The minister highlighted the potential for this investment to empower manufacturing and service-based industries to leverage AI and other advanced technologies, moving up the global value chain.

This announcement follows a series of engagements facilitated by the ministry of investment, trade and industry, involving prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Ruth Porat, the president, chief investment officer, and chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google.

These developments underscore Google’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions and its strategic expansion in key global markets, while also highlighting the increasing importance of advanced data centre infrastructure in supporting the growth of AI and cloud technologies.

See also: Google advances Singapore data centre and cloud region with new expansion

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