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Google Inks First PPA in Europe

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Google Inc. , the world's most popular Internet search engine provider, has announced an agreement with Swedish wind farm developer O2 to power its massive data center in Finland.

The company stated that the wind project is a 72-megawatt facility and will be built by O2.  The project will be funded by theGerman insurance company Allianzand is expected to be completed by early 2015.

Per the agreement, Google will buy the entire electricity output from a wind farm in Sweden for 10 years. The wind energy will be transferred to the electric grid, which will power Google’s data center in Finland.

For quite some time, Google has been interested in clean technology rather than using fossil fuels. Since 2010, the company has made 10 other investments in renewable-energy projects. Last week, the company announced an investment of $12 million in a 96 MW solar-power project, the Jasper Power Project, in South Africa. The project would deliver clean energy equivalent to power roughly 30,000 homes in South Africa.

Currently, over 30% of Google’s operations use renewable energy to power data centers. The company has already completed three large-scale Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to buy renewable energy in the United States. Per the first agreement,114 MW of wind generation will be sourced from NextEra’s Story County II facility in Iowa.

Per the second agreement,100.8 MW of wind generation will be procured from Minco II facility in Oklahoma while the third calls for 72 MW of output from a wind farm under construction in Northern Sweden.This is Google’s fourth power purchase agreement (PPA) and the first in Europe.

Google’s continuous efforts have prompted many technology companies to increase the use of clean energy to power their data centers. Last year, Apple (AAPL - Free Report) bought 200 acres of property in Catawba County for $3 million in an effort to run its North Carolina data center using renewable energy. Facebook (FB - Free Report) also unveiled its efforts to use clean and cheap energy to power its data centers.

The increased use of renewable energy by Google and other cloud computing providers is also expected to help to reduce global warming and fossil fuel consumption.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Google’s gross revenue (including TAC) touched a record $14.4 billion, representing sequential and year-over-year increases of 2.3% and 36.2%, respectively. Excluding the $1.5 billion contribution from Motorola, revenues were up 21.9% from the year-ago quarter.

Google has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another technology stock that is worth considering is Yahoo , which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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