Google will run entirely on renewable energy next year, it says. The tech giant plans to buy enough wind and solar electricity to power all of its global operations, including data centers and offices, as well as invest in the creation of new renewable energy sources.
Google used 5.7 terawatt-hours of electricity in total last year, which it claims equates to almost half of what San Francisco consumed over the same period. Currently, Google already purchases both renewable energy and generates its own. Part of the energy it purchases comes through large-scale, long-term contracts with suppliers, something it began doing in 2010 with a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa.
And now it plans to ramp up its efforts and draw on renewables for every last unit of electricity needed for its global operations. In a blog post published today, Google's senior vice president for technical infrastructure Urs Hölzle points to the declining costs of wind and solar energy that make it an attractive route in a business sense, on top of the obvious environmental benefits.
The firm has a total of 20 agreements in place for purchasing renewables, which it says enables access to 2.6 GW of wind and solar power, and results in US$3.5 billion worth of renewable energy infrastructure investments around the world. And looking forward, it intends to broaden the sources of its own renewable energy to include technologies that can provide power around the clock, rather than relying on just wind and solar.