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Google Invests in Solar
in an Aging Oil Field

by James Murray, September 12, 2014

Mt. Poso oil field in Kern County (Don Barrett photo) The company's green blog announced Wednesday that Google is to provide a $145 million equity commitment to the 82MW Regulus solar project, being developed by SunEdison on a former oil and gas field in Kern County.

"Our investment in the Regulus solar project will give new life to a long-valued piece of land, and there's something a little poetic about creating a renewable resource on land that once creaked with oil wells," Google said. "Over the years, this particular site in California has gone from 30 oil wells to five as it was exhausted of profitable fossil fuel reserves. The land sat for some time and today we're ready to spiff things up."

The company added that when completed, the project would generate enough clean power for around 10,000 homes.

The deal represents Google's 17th renewable energy investment since 2010 and provides further evidence of its commitment to the clean energy sector.

"We're continually looking for newer, bigger and better projects that help us create a clean energy future," the company said. "The more than $1.5 billion we've brought to these projects to date not only helps provide renewable energy to the grid and to the public, but as they perform, they allow us to invest in more renewable energy projects. This cycle makes financial sense for Google and our partners while supporting construction jobs in local communities and clean energy for the planet we share."

The announcement came the same day as Google provided its annual update on its carbon performance, revealing its overall greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2013, even as its carbon intensity, a measure of carbon emissions per million dollars of revenue, fell 3.1 percent.

Google said its carbon intensity has fallen for five consecutive years and insisted that its policy of purchasing carbon offsets to match its emissions meant it had retained "carbon neutral" status.

The company added that it was continuing to make good progress with data center energy efficiency initiatives and had expanded its use of renewable energy to meet 35 percent of its demand. It also reiterated its commitment to signing more contracts with renewable energy providers in a bid to reduce its overall emissions.

James Murray
Google Invests in Solar in an Aging Oil Field, September 12, 2014

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