Google has entered into an agreement with Berkshire Hathaway electric utility NV Energy to power its Nevada data centers with about 115 MW of geothermal energy.

Google says the proposed partnership has been sent to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada for approval. The company has set a goal of powering its data centers and buildings with 100% carbon-free energy by 2030. In an environmental report released last year, Google said it has achieved 64% carbon-free energy at its data centers, and 56% at its offices.

The supply agreement for 115 MW of geothermal energy would increase the amount of enhanced geothermal capacity Google uses for operations by 25 times, according to the company.

Late last year, Google announced an advanced geothermal project, through a partnership with Houston-based Fervo Energy, had begun pumping carbon-free electricity onto the Nevada grid to power its data centers there.

Google and Fervo Energy started working together in 2021 to develop next-generation geothermal power. Now that the site near Winnemucca, Nevada is operating commercially, its three wells are sending about 3.5 megawatts to the grid.

In March, Google, Microsoft, and Nucor Corporation announced they would work together across the electricity ecosystem to develop new business models and aggregate their demand for advanced clean electricity technologies.

These models are intended 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 more.

At least 38 GW of peak demand growth is expected through 2028, driven by the development of data centers and industrial and manufacturing facilities, according to a recent report from Grid Strategies.

The report, The Era of Flat Power Demand is Over, cited forecasts from grid planners, who have doubled the five-year load growth forecast over the past year. The nationwide forecast of electricity demand jumped from 2.6% to 4.7% growth over the next five years, according to FERC filings – and these forecasts are likely an underestimate, Grid Strategies said. Recent updates have tacked on several GW to that forecast, and next year’s will likely show an even steeper growth rate.

The International Energy Agency has long projected geothermal could be a serious solution to climate change. In a 2011 roadmap document, IEA suggested geothermal could reach some 3.5% of global electricity generation annually by 2050, avoiding almost 800 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

This article contains reporting from the Associated Press.

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