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1.5 gigawatts later, our smarter way of buying clean energy is here to stay

The climate-change clock is ticking, and the carbon-free energy transition needs to happen fast, and at global scale. To help accelerate grid decarbonization worldwide, last year we debuted an efficient, smarter way of doing business in the industry. Co-developed with LevelTen, our ambition was to more efficiently execute the way clean energy is bought and sold.

Today, this ambition is already becoming reality. Within one year of introducing our new approach to the market, we’ve signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for more than 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy capacity in North America and Europe — bringing us closer to our 2030 goal of running on 24/7 carbon-free energy (CFE) on every grid where we operate.

Here’s a look at two recent PPAs that contributed to the 1.5 GW milestone, and how the new approach enabled easy, transparent, reliable, and efficient contracting in today’s market. 

Clean energy to keep pace with digital demand in the U.S. Midwest

Our first transaction was a PPA for 100 megawatts (MW) of solar energy from Cubico Sustainable Investments, contributing to our CFE goals at our data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Leaning on our risk-balanced PPA template, developed with feedback from LevelTen and the market, we quickly agreed on common contract provisions with Cubico. LevelTen’s click-through UI helped us finalize project-specific terms, and we landed a final agreement within weeks, instead of months.

Our Iowa operations had achieved at least 90% CFE when measured on an hourly basis in 2020, 2021, and 2022. The ability to quickly add more carbon-free energy to the electricity grid — like with the Cubico solar project, which has a complementary generation profile to our existing wind portfolio — ultimately helps us keep CFE high in Iowa, even as we grow to meet demand for our products and services.

Procurement at the speed of light (well, almost) in the Netherlands

We inked long-term PPAs with Kronos Solar EDPR to offtake part of the clean energy production from its four photovoltaic plants under development in the Netherlands, partnering for the annual production of more than 49 GWh of clean energy. The solar energy will complement our Dutch investments in near-shore and offshore wind, as well as our existing partnership with EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA) in the U.S.

Even though these PPAs involved a familiar partner and geographic market, traditional procurement practices still would have created time-consuming obstacles, which our accelerated contracting approach helped us sidestep. Within days of closing our request for proposals (RFP), we swiftly moved to project selection and, just two weeks later, worked with Kronos Solar EDPR to reach a signature-ready PPA. 

Only 82 days passed between RFP launch and contract execution. In the world of clean energy procurement, that’s fast — warp-factor-ten fast. 

In addition to helping Google advance our own 24/7 CFE goal, the efficient end-to-end transaction process helped provide Kronos Solar EDPR with the certainties needed to deploy capital for developing the photovoltaic plants, enabling them to lock in costs early. And by spending less time negotiating the PPA itself, both companies freed up resources to focus on harder problems, like finding solutions to address interconnection queue uncertainty.

Leaping toward a new standard 

Reaching 1.5 GW with our accelerated approach is a significant milestone, but we’re just getting started. This new way of doing business has become our standard for wind and solar PPAs, and we’re exploring ways to contract for additional types of carbon-free energy generation and storage. 

Now that LevelTen has made the approach — known as LevelTen Energy’s Accelerated Process™ (LEAP) — available to clean energy buyers of all sizes across North America and Europe, we hope other organizations will join us. A carbon-free future is within reach if we work smarter and with more urgency, together. 

To learn more about how the approach works, see our video:

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