Google’s Sustainable Innovation May Save Mother Nature

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Thriving for 24/7 carbon-free electricity, Google’s sustainable innovation, the enhanced geothermal system (EGS) project, is now operational in Nevada.

  • Google partners with renewable energy startup Fervo for Project Red.
  • The project generates 3.5 megawatts, equivalent to powering approximately 2,600 homes.
  • The electricity produced flows into the local grid, serving two Google data centers in Nevada, situated outside Las Vegas and Reno.

Google’s enhanced geothermal system (EGS) project, Project Red, is now operational in Nevada.

The Tech giant partnered with renewable energy startup Fervo on this project. It utilizes EGSs to tap into the Earth’s heat. This, in turn, will provide a consistent and clean energy source to power Google’s data centers.

The team designed this geothermal project to generate 3.5 megawatts of power, enough to meet the demand of approximately 2,600 homes. In fact, one megawatt has the capability to meet the demand of approximately 750 homes. The produced electricity flows into the local grid that serves two of Google’s data centers in Nevada, outside of Las Vegas and Reno. With this project initiated in 2021, Google inches closer to operating on 24/7 carbon-free electricity by 2030.

Traditionally, geothermal plants extract hot fluids from natural reservoirs. Fervo’s approach, however, involves drilling two horizontal wells in an existing geothermal field where there is hot rock but no fluid. They then pump cold water through fractures in the rock. As a result, the water absorbs the heat and creates steam at the surface to drive the turbines.

Through this closed-loop system, they ensure that water is reused and not wasted, which is important as that region of Nevada is prone to droughts.

Senior Director of Energy and Climate at Google, Michael Terrell said, “If you think about how much we advanced wind and solar and lithium-ion storage, here we are — this is kind of the next set of stuff and we feel like companies have a huge role to play in advancing these technologies.”

We could look at this as Google’s win. But we could also look at how important of a milestone this is for the geothermal industry as a whole. We’re always trying to lessen our impact on Mother Earth. We have solar and wind energies, for example. But let’s be honest, not every type of renewable energy works for every region on earth. So, a little diversity is warranted.

The startup behind all this has also received support from Bill Gates’ climate investment firm, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

A little step for Google, but a leap for humankind and our kindness to the Mother who hosts us.

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