Where is Google's Renewable Power?

Google was one of the first data center companies to get a PPA. A PPA? Power Purchase Agreement. I am pretty sure Google was first, but it was 2009 when they started and I can't remember if there was possibly someone else. I think back in 2009 people were thinking they need to fund their own renewable energy projects and didn't even know what a PPA was.

In 2009, our data center energy team began to study power purchase agreements (PPAs): large-scale, long-term contracts to buy renewable energy in volumes that would meet the needs of our business. The idea behind using a PPA is simple: Google can’t buy clean energy from our utilities because of regulatory restrictions on our retail contract, and we can’t produce nearly enough of it behind the meter at our data center facilities because of physical and geographical restrictions. But we can buy it at the wholesale level directly from developers on the same grids where we operate our data centers.
— https://environment.google/projects/ppa/

I was lucky and spent a bunch of time hanging around OSIsoft friends like Pat Kennedy who were immersed in the workings of power generation and Pat suggested that data centers could benefit from going after lumber decommissioned power plants which have water rights, power and PPAs.

Part of using PPAs is there are now public disclosures and as Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and others follow they are announcing their renewable energy PPAs. Google has summarized their efforts in this nice graphic.

But don't rush to think PPAs solve all your problems for acquiring renewable energy.  With Google's experience they have found there is room for improvement as Google's Greg Demasi closes in his blog post.

We’ve had great success securing significant amounts of renewable energy at rates that are competitive with nonrenewable sources, proving that you can do great things for the planet and support the bottom line. But in many ways PPAs remain an imperfect model. And although there are more options today than there were in 2009, few utilities offer renewable energy to their customers. “A huge evolution needs to occur in the utility sector,” Demasi says, “for us to be able to buy the power we want from the source we want with the contractual flexibility and agility we need.” The industry is making good progress. But we’re still a long way from an ideal system for bringing renewable power from where the wind blows and the sun shines to where people live and work.
— https://environment.google/projects/ppa/