Google has announced its largest offshore wind power investment to date as part of a string of power purchase agreements (PPAs) which will see it buy 700MW of clean energy across Europe.

The tech giant has revealed a series of PPAs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Poland which it says will help offset the emissions from its data centers.

Google’s big off-shore wind buy

The bulk of the power will come via Google’s investment in the Hollandse Kust Noord Wind Farm Zone Site V and Hollandse Kust West Site VI wind farms currently under construction off the coast of the Netherlands.

Once complete, the two sites are expected to supply up to six percent of Dutch energy, and Google has agreed to buy 478MW from the Crosswind and Ecowende joint ventures, which operate the wind farms. These joint ventures are owned by Shell and Netherlands-based energy company Eneco.

In addition, Google says it has entered into its first long-term PPA in Italy, which will see it buy 47MW generated by an on-shore wind project run by energy company ERG. In Poland, it has agreed to two 106MW PPA deals with GoldenPeaks Capital to acquire solar energy. It is the second time it has invested in Poland, following a deal to buy wind energy announced in November.

Finally, it has backed two new green energy projects in Belgium, which it says takes its investment in the country to a total of 48MW purchased from 11 renewable energy projects.

Matt Brittin, president of Google Europe, Middle East and Africa, said that as a result of the investments announced today the company’s operations “are projected to reach more than 90% carbon-free energy in The Netherlands, Italy and Poland, and close to 85% in Belgium.”

Brittin added: “This is a significant step towards our aim to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy in all data centers and campuses in Europe.”

The Google journey to a carbon-free future

Indeed, Google’s ambition is to run its data centers and office campuses on 24/7 carbon-free energy on every grid where it operates by 2030.

PPAs are one way to achieve this, but the standard agreements signed by many companies have questionable value as renewable sources of energy like wind and solar generate power intermittently, while data center power demand is constant. As such, PPAs often do not match energy use.

A solution to this is so-called 24/7 PPAs, such as those which Google has just signed, where the buyer of energy pays by the hour to match their consumption.

Microsoft is also committed to 24/7 PPAs, but the third of the major hyperscale public cloud providers, Amazon, has yet to make such a commitment. Amazon did this week agree to purchase 478MW of power from the Moray West wind farm in Scotland, and says it is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world.