Google Makes Massive Renewable Energy Deal To Power Data Centers

Google is now one of the biggest private sector investors in green energy. d8nn/Shutterstock
Josh Davis 06 Dec 2015, 15:36

In one of the biggest renewable energy deals made by a non-utility company, your cat videos and Internet searches could soon be carbon neutral as Google has just announced that it has increased the amount of green energy powering its data centers and buildings. This move, which in addition to the renewable energy the company already uses has been likened to taking one million cars off the road, is another step towards the Internet giant's goal of being 100 percent green by 2025.

The company has announced it will add another 842 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, buying it from wind and solar projects mainly within the U.S., but also from Chile and Sweden, and will mean that Google now buys two gigawatts of renewable energy a year. The deals made span between 10 and 20 years, which the company hopes will encourage additional development of the projects, increasing their capacity to produce green energy further.

The declaration was timed to coincide with the current climate talks taking place in Paris, as the world’s governments try to come to some sort of agreement in how to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. It also follows closely on the heels of the announcement that other tech giants including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos are forming a coalition, along with many western governments, to fund companies which are aiming to combat climate change. Both are adding to a growing voice that governments alone won’t solve this problem, and that the private sector needs to do more to help the world shift into a low carbon society.

The majority of the new green energy being bought by Google will come from domestic wind farms in America, in addition to one solar deal with Duke Energy. Other deals have been struck with a solar farm in Chile and a wind farm in Sweden. This now means that 37 percent of the energy consumed by the company is from renewable sources, with eventual plans to offset all emissions from their data centers.

But not only are they trying to power all their data centers with green energy, Google has also made separate agreements to “fund $2.5 billion [£1.6 billion] into 22 large-scale renewable energy projects over the last five years, from Germany to Kansas to Kenya,” according to their announcement. Their aim here is to not only be a large, corporate consumer of clean energy, but to also invest in and drive the industry to bring the costs down for everyone else.  

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