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Google Intends To Power The Internet With Renewable Energy

by Adam Armstrong

Google has laid out the goal to power 100% of its operations through renewable energy, and has made the first major step toward completing that goal earlier this month. Google made the largest, and most diverse, purchase of renewable energy ever made by a non-utility company. Google’s investment will add 842 megawatts (MW, or 842 million watts) of renewable energy to power its data centers worldwide.


Google has laid out the goal to power 100% of its operations through renewable energy, and has made the first major step toward completing that goal earlier this month. Google made the largest, and most diverse, purchase of renewable energy ever made by a non-utility company. Google’s investment will add 842 megawatts (MW, or 842 million watts) of renewable energy to power its data centers worldwide.

The purchase of renewable energy almost doubles the amount of renewable energy Google is currently using pushing it up to 2 gigawatts (or the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the road). This most recent purchase covers three countries including wind and solar in the U.S., wind farms in Sweden, and a solar plant in Chile. The contracts signed range from 10-20 years. Google’s financing of the projects ensures they have the capital to compete these projects. This has multiple benefits including introducing renewable energy to the local grids where these sites are located, lessening Google’s environmental impact, and enabling Google to control the energy costs in the future giving them a better handle on pricing or their services.

Google isn’t the only tech company investing heavily in renewables. Last year Apple investing $55 million in a 100 acre, 15.5 MW solar farm in North Carolina. Amazon plans on running its Amazon Web Services (AWS) completely off of renewable energy and it has signed a 13-year deal to support the construction of a 150MW wind farm. And Microsoft has also signed a deal for a wind farm this one being a 175MW farm.

Google’s other commitments to renewable energy include:

  • Google is building the “world’s most efficient computer infrastructure” by designing its data centers to use as little energy as possible.
  • They are driving the renewables industry forward by fully committing to renewable sources. In 2010, Google entered its first large-scale renewable power purchase agreement with a wind farm in Iowa, and it subsequently completed a number of similar large-scale energy purchases over the past five years. Today’s announcement is another milestone in this area.
  • They've worked with their utility partners to help promote transformation in the utility sector. In 2013 Google created a new program that enables customers like Google to buy large amounts of renewable energy directly from their utilities. Today's announcement includes the first solar project enrolled under that program. And this past summer Google announced that its newest data center will be on located on the site of a retiring coal plant and will be 100% renewable powered from day one.
  • Google has made separate agreements to fund $2.5 billion into 22 large-scale renewable energy projects over the last five years, from Germany to Kansas to Kenya. These investments have been in some of the largest and most transformative renewable energy projects in the world with a goal to help drive renewable energy development not only as a customer but as an investor, and bring down costs for everyone.

Google Green Energy Page

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