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Craig Hale

Google going green - new geothermal energy plant opens in Nevada

Google's first geothermal power station in Nevada.

Google has confirmed that its first geothermal power station in Nevada is now operational, in an effort to fuel its data centers with clean energy and tackle climate change by reducing emissions.

Clearly, the logistical and cost implications of directly powering its own sites make it almost impossible for Google to do so, but by generating as much energy as it uses to pump back into the grid, the plan is designed to reduce the need to fire up fossil fuel-burning stations.

The news comes two years after the tech giant announced it would be partnering with clean energy startup Fervo.

Google taps into natural resources

The company boasts that this corporate agreement to develop an enhanced geothermal power project is a world first, but although it claims to be leading the way, it is hoped that other companies will take similar steps to reduce their impacts on the environment.

The announcement cites a US Department of Energy study, which found that the US could generate up to 120 gigawatts of reliable and flexible geothermal energy by 2050, accounting for around 16% of the estimated total electricity needs.

Google said that the difference between Fervo and other companies is that the startup uses drilling techniques borrowed from the oil and gas industry in order to access otherwise hard-to-reach energy.

Michael Terrell, Senior Director for Energy and Climate at Google, said: “As we continue on our journey to 24/7 [carbon-free energy], we’ll keep pushing boundaries, testing new ideas and working with others to transform the power sector globally.”

Looking ahead, Google anticipates that its efforts to try out new technologies and methods will be met with similar efforts to advocate clean energy policies with other enterprises and governments globally.

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