Google has confirmed that it will make good on its 2015 promise to go as green as it can go.
The company has said it will hit its target of offsetting 100% of the energy used at its data centres and offices against power from renewable sources, and will do it in 2017.
‘We’re set to reach 100% renewable energy — and it’s just the beginning,’ wrote Google’s senior vice president of Technical Infrastructure, Urs Holzle, in a blog post last week.
Google is also currently the largest single corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world.
Of course, Google still must use energy from Fossil fuel based power stations to run its offices and data centre. But the main point here is that the tech giant now buys enough electricity from renewable sources to offset that energy use.
Holzle also wrote in the blog pot that Google will now plan to purchase “enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally…. To reach this goal we’ll be directly buying enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally.”
Google currently operates 13 data centres across the globe, and are responsible for consuming around 5.7 terawatt-hours of electricity a year. Data centres also account for around 3% of the world’s current electricity supply, a figure set to triple in the next decade.
Holzle goes on to write:
“Our engineers have spent years perfecting Google’s data centres, making them 50 percent more energy efficient than the industry average. But we still need a lot of energy to power the products and services that our users depend on.”
Over the last decade, the cost of renewable energy has fallen by 60-80% overall, thanks in part to generous subsidies by national governments, but also due to more efficient technology and improvements in the science behind capturing natural energy. As electricity is one of the largest costs for tech companies like Google, Holzle argues that investing in long term stable renewable power enables the company to insulate itself in an unstable and unpredictable energy market.
Being an environmentally friendly company is something Google has always believed in Holzle concludes:
“The science tells us that tackling climate change is an urgent global priority. We believe the private sector, in partnership with policy leaders, must take bold steps and that we can do so in a way that leads to growth and opportunity. And we have a responsibility to do so – to our users and the environment.”