Google suggests renewable energy rate for utilities, companies

Internet and technology giant Google Inc. wants companies to be able to obtain renewable energy for their electricity needs using a special "green power rate," according to reports.

Duke Energy, which supplies energy for Google's North Carolina data centers, is developing a new rate for large commercial and industrial companies seeking to buy clean energy, according to Google.

Google has made headlines previously for fueling its energy-hungry data centers with renewable energy.

Utilities could create a renewable energy tariff voluntarily, open to large companies that request the rate, but would need approval from the relevant regulatory bodies to do so. Even with approval, however, utilities would need sources for the renewable power and have the ability to dispatch it when called upon.

Under this plan, utilities paying the rates would recoup their costs from their customers that selected the option and not the day-to-day ratepayers, according to Google.

Traditionally, companies get renewable energy by purchasing credits, installing on-site renewable generation or by entering power purchase agreements, which is the method Google has used most often.

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