Plans for a new wind park on Norway’s west coast got a surge of energy last week when financing came through after Google agreed to buy all the power generated by the park. More such deals can unleash more parks, which in turn create jobs, hope local and state government officials.
“Google has an enormous need for energy and lots of money,” Fredrik Hauge, leader of the environmental organization Bellona, told newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad. “That’s why they’re buying power in Rogaland County.”
Google, which has seen its reputation bruised in Norway because of how it can dominates the ad market at the expense of local media and then avoid taxes, “is a new competitor that comes into markets and changes the playing rules,” Thina Saltvedt, an analyst at Nordea Markets, told Stavanger Aftenblad. Its agreement to buy power from the planned Tellenes Wind Park in Dalane, however, may also restore its reputation because of how it can stimulate alternative, renewable energy projects. “This is very positive,” the mayor of nearby Sokndal, Trond Arne Pedersen, told the paper. “Now we’ll see whether we can exploit the Google effect.”
The deal involved the purchase of the park by Blackrock, one of the world’s largest investment funds, after the park secured a major customer. Developers of the wind park, Norsk Vind Energi and Zephyr, will now be able to build 50 turbines, due to be operational sometime next year. Google will use the power from the park to supply its European data centers.