Google has just announced that it expects to operate on 100 percent renewable energy by some time next year. As a firm believer in climate change—and that we must all do our part to slow it down—the company understands its responsibility as a multinational business to act as a steward for the environment. As such, they will convert all of its operations, including 13 data centers and officers in 150 cities around the world.
Google’s director of global infrastructure and energy, Gary Demasi, recently proclaimed, “What Google has tried to demonstrate is that businesses can certainly make a difference. And it’s important for us to participate.”
He goes on to say, “Essentially what it means is that we will be buying as many renewable energy megawatt hours as we’ll be consuming at our facilities. Add them up at the end of the year, and they will match.”
Demasi continues to explain that Google has found a push towards renewable energy makes very good business sense. After all, wind and solar cost have fallen 60 and 80 percent, respectively, over the past six years. “That reduction in price,” he notes, “has been one impetus for us being able to scale this approach globally.”
Of course, this 100 percent goal—by next year—is still actually not complete. Google’s long term goal is to run solely on clean, zero-carbon energy at all times, every single day of the year. For now, however, they rely on a bit of a workaround.
Currently, Google employs power purchase agreements to buy renewable energy from wind and solar developers. It then sells this energy back to the grid at wholesale. In exchange for this regulated, consistent exchange, Google receives renewable energy certificates which it then uses to purchase the non-renewable energy it still needs at some of its operations.
While this might sound like a complicated arrangement, Google assures that from the perspective of the energy system, overall, “there is no appreciable difference between putting a wind farm or solar facility behind our meter or on the grid. At best the difference is one of appearance and at worst it reduces the impact of our investment because a project built in a less favorable location would generate less energy over its life.”
it is a smart move on Google’s behalf, as many other major players in this world are also moving towards green operations. This includes Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook.