Just last year, Google used the same amount of energy as San Francisco. In 2017, Google plans to source all that energy from renewable energy sources such as wind farms and solar panels.
The internet giant stated that all their data centres over various countries will be powered by clean energy sources sometime during the year.
Over the last 10 years, Google has been involved with a number of commercial-scale deals with producers of renewables, generally committing to purchasing the power they generate with the wind turbines or solar cells. With this buyer guarantee, bank finances can be obtained to build on these power plants.
The energy generated flows into the utility grid making Google’s usage containing no net consumption of fossil fuels and the share of renewables within the electricity market grows.
“We are the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world,” said the senior vice president of Google’s technical infrastructure, Joe Kava.
“It’s good for the economy, good for business and good for our shareholders.”
Mr Kava noted that wind supply prices don’t fluctuate like carbon-fueled power which enables easier planning for the company.
Another benefit is the more renewables they buy, the cheaper it becomes. In locations such as Chile, fossil fuels became more expensive than renewable sources.
It is difficult to determine whether Google may be the largest purchaser of renewable energy, but there is no doubt that Google’s significant computer complexes are the fastest-growing new consumers of electricity in the world along with big players such as Microsoft and Amazon.
Google hopes to encourage industry development by collaborating with large-scale projects such as wind farms.
Google has long supported using alternative energy to fossil fuels and are proud of their energy efficient data centres.
However, Institute for ENergy Research communications vice president Chris Warren and other critics are sceptical. “In my mind it’s a P.R. gimmick…If they think they can actually support themselves with wind and solar panels, they should connect them directly to their data centers.”
95 per cent of next year’s goal will be reached using wind turbines all over the world according to Mr Kava, and the company’s support for renewables may continue to lower prices, in particular relative to coal prices.
“We’re technology-agnostic, but we’re not price-agnostic,” said Mr Kava.
IMAGE via Cesar Solorzano