Wind power

Google claims largest-ever corporate renewable power buy

Google campus
Google campus in Mountain View, California. Photo: Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images

Google on Thursday announced a 1.6 gigawatt package of renewable power deals in the U.S., South America and Europe that the tech behemoth is calling the "biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history."

Why it matters: The announcement signals how buys from large companies, including several tech giants, are becoming an increasingly important driver of solar and wind power growth. It also arrives the same day that Amazon vowed to power its facilities and operations with 100% renewables by 2030 as part of wider new climate pledges.

Expert Voices

Summer price spikes are a feature of Texas' power market, not a bug

electric transformers next to an office building
Transformers at an electrical substation in Houston. Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

Demand for air conditioning across Texas helped drive wholesale electricity prices to the market cap of $9,000/MWh earlier this week, testing both the grid's capacity and the public's response to price spikes under the state's wholesale electricity market.

The big picture: ERCOT, the grid operator for most of Texas, operates an “energy-only” market that pays power plants only when they produce energy, and not merely for being available to do so. Many ERCOT plants thus rely on high-priced scarcity events to stay profitable in the otherwise low-cost grid, where prices are kept down by cheap natural gas prices and, to a lesser extent, renewables.