• Duke Energy supplies renewable energy under Green Source Rider
  • Google is world's corporate customer of clean energy

Google, the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, is the first customer to sign on with a North Carolina program that lets the company purchase clean power directly from local utilities.

Google agreed to buy 61 megawatts of capacity from a solar farm in Rutherford County, through the state’s Green Source Rider program, the Alphabet Inc. unit said in a blog posting Tuesday.

Under the pilot program, would-be buyers ask utility Duke Energy Corp. for renewable energy. Duke plays matchmaker, by finding a developer and agreeing to buy the energy. In some cases, Duke provides the clean energy itself.

“We pay the equivalent of what the developer will receive,” Gary Demasi, director of data center energy and location strategy at Google, said in an interview. Corporate buyers also get renewable energy credits.

Google asked Duke to pursue such a program in 2013, the same year it announced plans to expand its data center in Lenoir. Duke then sought approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Similar programs have been implemented adopted in 10 states, including Virginia and Washington, Demasi said.

“We see utilities as playing an absolutely essential role in providing renewables to corporate offtakers,” he said.

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