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Google has long been at the forefront of technological advancement, and now the Silicon Valley giant has come up with a plan that could potentially take the renewable energy market to the next level. In a post published on the company’s blog, Google Director of Global Infrastructure Gary Demasi announced a plan that would create a special tariff for clean energy. Working with Duke Energy, the company is establishing a rate for its data center in Lenoir, NC. By establishing this new designation, Google hopes to make it easier for large businesses to take advantage of clean energy.

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The Google renewable energy proposal seeks to overcome what the company sees as major hindrances to implementing clean energy on a large scale. According to the article, companies have three options. They can install large on-site arrays, such as Google’s 1.7-megawatt system at its Mountain View campus, however the technology may not be able to fully supply all of the facility’s needs during peak hours. This could mean that the business would still  have to rely on fossil fuel energy from the grid. A second alternative is to buy energy from off-site sources through purchase power agreements (PPAs). That decision requires someone skilled in energy management and may draw attention away from day-to-day operations to hand to balancing energy usage. Lastly, a business could buy renewable energy credits (RECs), but costs for these credits do not always match up with investments, and they tend to move resources around instead of creating real grid independence.

Google’s idea lets the utility companies create all of the electricity and charge a separate price. For now, the tariff would probably be higher than those based on already established classes. The current user categories of industrial, residential, and commercial are meant to offer the lowest cost through a mix of sources. Google nonetheless believes that companies would be willing to pay more in order to get away from fossil fuels and its market that tends to see price spikes and instability. Going green could also provide a positive marketing tool that would be worth a great deal in PR. By giving companies an option to buy renewables, they would not have to invest the same amount of time and effort into building their own infrastructure. Utility companies would find a source of revenue, and hopefully be pushed to establish or expand their renewable sectors.

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Via Clean Technica

Images via Google and Wikicommons user GeeJo.