Google invests in BlackRock-backed Taiwanese solar startup to boost energy capacity amid AI boom

Google announced on Monday it has acquired a stake in Taiwan’s New Green Power (NGP) in a strategic move to advance its sustainability goals. The deal includes capital investment from Google into the BlackRock fund-owned firm.

As part of the partnership, New Green Power will grant Google the rights to procure up to 300MW of solar power from NGP’s development pipeline in Taiwan to help reduce carbon emissions for both Google and its suppliers amid the artificial intelligence boom.

In a blog post on Monday, Amanda Peterson Corio, global head of data center energy at Google, said: “We expect to procure up to 300 [megawatts] of solar energy from this pipeline through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and the associated energy attribute certificates (Taiwan Renewable Energy Certificates or T-RECS) to help meet electricity demand from our data center campus, cloud region and office operations in Taiwan.”

The collaboration also opens opportunities to extend clean energy capacity to Google’s suppliers in the region, BlackRock said in a news release. This partnership is a strategic step for Google to advance its climate goals while enabling NGP to expand its solar projects.

Corio also added, “We’re aiming to reach net-zero emissions across our operations and value chain, supported by a goal to run on 24/7 carbon-free energy everywhere we operate. The path to reach these goals is challenging and requires both commercial efforts and broader energy systems change. We’re excited to partner with BlackRock and New Green Power to advance the build-out of clean energy on Taiwan’s electricity grid.”

BlackRock’s Infrastructure Equity platform, managing over $39 billion in client assets as of March 31, 2024, offers extensive expertise in global investment sourcing and sophisticated solutions to manage infrastructure investments. This platform is well-positioned to capitalize on the $100+ trillion investment opportunity in the energy transition.

Despite Google’s commitment to running on carbon-free energy, the rising demand for data-processing capacity, particularly for artificial intelligence, has led to increased emissions. Taiwan, where Google operates a data center and offices, still relies heavily on fossil fuels for nearly 85% of its power generation.

“The goal of this investment is really to support the build-out of a large-scale solar pipeline in Taiwan,” Corio emphasized. The region, especially Asia Pacific, poses challenges for decarbonization due to underdeveloped infrastructure and limitations on corporate green power purchases.

While both Google and BlackRock declined to disclose the size of the equity stake in NGP, Corio mentioned that the investment is expected to drive financing for NGP’s 1 gigawatt (GW) solar pipeline, Reuters reported.

Taiwan aims to reach 20 GW of solar capacity by 2025 and as much as 80 GW by 2050. This ambitious target aligns with NGP’s capabilities, as the company has been a leading solar developer in Taiwan since 2009, specializing in the development, design, engineering, construction, and maintenance of solar projects.

David Giordano, BlackRock’s Global Head of Climate Infrastructure, highlighted NGP’s pivotal role in Taiwan’s solar industry, noting their commitment to delivering clean, sustainable solar energy for local communities.

Through this partnership, Google will not only power its operations with solar energy but also extend this resource to its suppliers and manufacturers in the region, reinforcing its commitment to a greener, more sustainable future.