Google, Microsoft, and steelmaker Nucor Corporation are partnering to pool their demand for innovative energy generation and storage projects.

The three companies this week announced they will work together to develop new business models and aggregate their demand for new clean electricity technologies.

Google Fervo Geothermal
Fervo's geothermal project Google invested in – Google/Fervo

These models will be designed to accelerate the development of first-of-a-kind and early commercial projects, including advanced nuclear, next-generation geothermal, clean hydrogen, long-duration energy storage (LDES) and others.

As a first step, the companies will issue an request for information (RFI) in several US regions for potential projects in need of off-take. More information is available here.

“Advanced clean electricity technologies face challenges, in part because the novelty and risk of early projects make it difficult to secure the financing they need,” the announcement said. “By developing new commercial structures and aggregating demand from three of the world's largest energy buyers, this approach aims to reduce the risks for utilities and developers considering early commercial projects and enable the investments that are needed.”

The companies said they aim to help bring these projects online by the early 2030s, reducing technology costs through repeated deployment.

The companies will initially focus on proving the demand aggregation and procurement model through advanced technology pilot projects in the United States. They will then pilot a project delivery framework focused on helping early commercial projects.

The framework will focus on signing off-take agreements for technologies that are still early on the cost curve; bringing customer voices to policymakers and other stakeholders on broader long-term ecosystem improvements; and developing new enabling tariff structures in partnership with energy providers and utilities.

The initial RFI is open until April 12. The companies will complete the first round of power purchase agreements (PPAs) around Q1 2025.

Evaluation criteria includes: technology maturity – ideally a first-of-a-kind technology that has been successfully demonstrated outside of a lab setting but is not widely commercialized; projects that can ideally provide more than 50MW of firm, dispatchable power that is carbon-free or generate less than 100g CO2e/kWh; initially located within the United States, with a preference for projects in PJM and can go live by 2030; and have a pathway to becoming cost competitive with existing power sources and potential to scale technology to 100 GW+ of total deployments globally by 2040.

Google and Microsoft are major contractors of PPAs to offset the energy use of their vast data center estates. Nucor Corporation is the largest steel and steel products producer in North America and has signed multiple PPAs over the years.

As well as signing PPAs to source traditional nuclear power, Microsoft has signed a speculative energy agreement with Helion Energy to procure fusion power by 2028.