6 July 2016

Google set to achieve renewable energy targets

Technology giant Google purchased 842 megawatts of renewable energy last year, bringing it closer to achieving its renewable energy goals of powering 100 per cent of its facilities with clean energy.

The company recently made the acquisition of 236 megawatts of wind power from Sweden and Norway to help power its data centres entirely with renewables.

Marc Oman, EU energy lead for Google Global Infrastructure wrote: “These new Nordic power purchase agreements complement our three other Swedish wind deals and enable us to power even more of our European operations with renewable energy. In total, we now have seven purchase agreements in Europe, totalling more than 500 MW and 18 such deals globally, which means we’ve now purchased nearly 2.5 gigawatts (GW) worldwide – the equivalent of taking over 1 million cars off the road.”

In order to increase its use of renewable energy, notably to power its data centres, Google has designed the data centres to be energy sufficient; it has entered into power purchase agreements to procure green power; it buys green energy directly from utilities; and it also invests directly into renewable energy projects.

Oman continues: “One of our key goals is to enable the addition of new renewable energy generation capacity to the grid, rather than drawing power from existing facilities... And thanks to Europe’s increasingly integrated energy market, we’re able to buy wind energy in Norway and Sweden, and consume it elsewhere in Europe.”

Powering its server with green energy would limit the Internet technologies giant’s emissions but it would also save it money, and hundreds of thousands of them are still partially dependent on fossil-fuelled power.

The transition is not over yet, but Google already has invested $2.5 billion in 22 separate renewable energy projects and the biggest green purchase it made was in 2014 with renewable energy certificates from MidAmerican Energy that equate to 407 megawatts of electricity.

Shawn Mills, president of Green House Data, a data-centre services company focused on sustainability said: “As Google and other industry giants invest in renewables, they’re lighting the way for sustainable business on a larger scale.”

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