BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 31 Jan '19

Google has committed to Asia’s first-ever solar power agreement

Google has signed a long-term contract to buy 10MW of solar power generated from a solar array in Tainan, a city in southern Taiwan, in its first-ever Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in Asia.

The 40,000 solar panels will be elevated by poles mounted into commercial fishing ponds. The setup has been designed to maximise land-use efficiency in a densely populated region, while respecting local ecology. The fishing community will be compensated for hosting solar panels on its ponds, meaning local economic benefits will also be generated.

Changing policy

Google has signed on to more than 30 solar and wind projects across the Americas and Europe since 2010, making it the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy.

The agreement has been made possible by the Taiwanese government, which recently amended Taiwan’s Electricity Act to allow non-utility companies to buy renewable energy directly and decrease their carbon footprints. Google is the first corporate power purchaser to act on this renewables-friendly change to the law.

The electricity Google has purchased from the solar farm will be wheeled to the same grid to help power Google’s data centre in Changhua County.

‘For years, Greenpeace has been challenging global IT brands to power their rapidly growing footprint with renewable energy. It makes both environmental and economic sense – for business executives, companies can benefit from a long-term fixed electricity cost to avoid market volatility; and corporate demand for renewable electricity can drive investment in renewable energy and energy transition both domestically and internationally.

‘The fact that Google is purchasing 10MW is a good start for the company and also demonstrates the potential for other corporates to utilise renewable energy in Taiwan. We need to see more companies step up and demand renewable energy for their operations in Taiwan and elsewhere in East Asia. Expanding the use of renewable energy by business sectors is a multi-win for business, investment, local communities and the environment.’

CHIH AN LEE
Greenpeace Taiwan’s Energy project manager

In a statement, Google said: ‘A policy landscape offering a clear path to cost-effective renewable power procurement is essential as more people and more organizations look to access carbon-free energy.’