After many years of devotion to renewable energy, Google finally announces it will run all its global operations exclusively with renewable energy starting 2017.
Google will be documenting this milestone in a detailed environmental report. It will also be launching a website specifically to post updates about its green initiatives.
Google has largely pursued sponsorships and massive purchases for renewable energy over the years, including buying portions of solar and wing energy productions from farms in the US, Chile and Sweden.
According to the latest post on Google’s Keyword blog, Google will be using these purchases along with renewable energy credits to power 100% of its data centers and offices. Google described this as a “landmark moment.”
Google already has 44 percent of its power supplied by solar and wind farms, making it the world’s largest corporate consumer of renewable electricity. By 2017, 100 percent of these electricity needs will be met by renewable energy.
Every year there are trillions of global Google searches, with more than 400 hours of Youtube video uploads per minute, all requiring an extremely large amount of processing power.
This demands an increasingly large amount of energy per year, despite rigorous attempts to improve efficiency through artificial intelligence.
“To reach this goal we’ll be directly buying enough wind and solar electricity to account for every unit of electricity our global operations consume,” VP Technical Infrastructure Urs Holzle said. “And it’s just the beginning.”
Google plans to start their first purchases in the US: “We signed our first agreement to purchase all the electricity from a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa, in 2010,” Holzle said.
“Today, we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. That’s bigger than many large utilities and more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future.”
The announcement came as the realization that renewable resources now come at a much cheaper price than fossil fuels.
“Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60 percent and 80 percent respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option,” said Holzle in the blog.