Google partners with NV Energy for clean energy initiatives.

By Oliver Townsend Jun 17, 2024
Google forms clean energy partnership with NV Energy.jpegOrginal image from:

Google has formed a groundbreaking partnership with NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, to advance the use of clean energy. This collaboration aims to boost clean energy usage through a new Clean Transition Tariff (CTT) that can be replicated across various electricity markets in the United States. The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada is currently reviewing and considering this innovative approach.

Limitations of Traditional Clean Energy Procurement

Historically, companies have relied on power purchase agreements (PPAs) to procure clean energy, predominantly from wind and solar sources. However, this method has its limitations. PPAs are often disconnected from broader grid planning and utility investment processes, leading to inconsistent availability of solar and wind power due to weather variability. To fully decarbonize electricity systems, additional technologies are necessary to provide clean energy consistently.

Technologies like enhanced geothermal, long-duration energy storage, and advanced nuclear power are crucial for delivering clean power whenever needed. These technologies are still in the early stages, relatively expensive, and lack proper incentives under current regulatory structures. As a result, customers often resort to fossil fuels for reliable power when renewable sources are not available.

The Need for a New Approach

To maximize the benefits of 24/7 carbon-free energy technologies, a fresh approach is essential to facilitate investments in clean energy projects that offer firm capacity to the grid. The new CTT aims to bring utilities and customers together under a long-term energy agreement that supports investments in projects providing clean firm capacity to the grid. NV Energy is pioneering this approach through its agreement with Google.

In this partnership, NV Energy and Google identified enhanced geothermal as a viable solution to bring clean capacity to the grid. Working with developer Fervo Energy, NV Energy included 115 MW of new enhanced geothermal power in the CTT partnership to deliver its full capacity value to Google. Together, they proposed a customizable framework to suit different state regulatory environments and align with state and customer objectives.

Implications and Future Prospects

If widely adopted in U.S. markets, the CTT structure has the potential to expand clean energy capacity, enhance grid reliability, accelerate the deployment of new technologies essential for clean industrial growth, and bring economic benefits of clean energy to communities nationwide. Duke Energy has already announced plans to develop a CTT in the Southeast United States in collaboration with Google and other partners, indicating a growing interest in this innovative approach.

This partnership not only helps Google achieve its goal of operating data centers and office campuses on carbon-free energy by 2030, but it also sets a precedent for other utilities and large customers to accelerate their clean energy objectives. By leveraging the CTT model and embracing clean energy technologies, stakeholders can work towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy future.

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