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Google's Clean-Power Deal Shows Wind Farms Finding New Customers

  • Kaiser Permanente expects to save 10% on power costs
  • Companies are creating `a new source of demand' for wind power
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Renewable-energy developers are increasingly selling wind power straight to the users, tapping a new customer base as some traditional utility buyers are backing away.

Technology giants have led the way, including Google’s deal Dec. 3 for 625 megawatts of U.S. wind power and Microsoft Corp.’s biggest-ever wind deal Dec. 1. Other industries are following suit, with businesses, universities, government agencies and other non-utility buyers accounting for 32 percent of U.S. contracts this year through early November, according to the American Wind Energy Association, up from 5 percent for all of 2013.