Environment

Google to run on 100 percent renewables from next year

Google to run on 100 percent r...
Google plans for renewables go beyond wind and solar
Google plans for renewables go beyond wind and solar
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Google plans for renewables go beyond wind and solar
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Google plans for renewables go beyond wind and solar

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.

Source: Google

5 comments
Anne Ominous
Yeah, Apple claimed the same thing last year and it's all pretty much BS. They buy carbon credits that let them pretend their electricity didn't actually come from coal- or gas-fired generation plants. Yawn. The stink of the BS would bother me if it wasn't both predictable and something I'd heard many times before.
Galymax
From a company like Google I would expect nothing less than installing enough renewable energy infrastructure to be able to sell energy affordably on a big scale.
Lbrewer42
So does this mean that they have finally solved the not-so-desireable-to-be-made-public problems inherent with the big windmills for catching fire and the incredible costs it takes for lubricants (oil based?) to keep being replaced? Does it also mean that the highly non-publicized diesel backup generators required to keep the grid operating with the windmills is also a solved problem? This would be good indeed. Will Google tell us about all of this behind the scenes info if the problems have not been solved? I personally believe the solar problem was solved awhile ago by the same man who invented Ni-Cad batteries - he had a metal alloy that was worked better than traditional cells - even worked on a cloudy day. But politics and big money got in the way. The info is on google somewhere. - there was an interview with him on youube also. It would have been great to have his type of panels for roofing. BTW - thanks for keeping this a scientific minded article by simply stating what is being planned. No ridiculous claims, no theory being preached as fact - good write up! You are keeping with the true spirit of reporting. Please keep it up. You are so much better than so many of your peers.
John Birk
Low cost energy storage now coming to market, and the cost will get lower and lower and lower, if in a few years time you are in the fossil fuel business, BE AFRAID,BE VERY AFRAID!
BurkSchwab
https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-often-do-wind-turbines-catch-fire-and-does-it-matter To Lbrewer42: Turbines catching on fire is essentially a non-problem, the "fires are 10 times more common than reported" moniker is based on the assumption that every "incident" is an "accident", see article above. Mineral oil for lubrication is a necessity. Any turbine, whether windmill, steam turbine in coal fired power plant, or jet engine needs a lubricant for optimal work. But there are other lubricants that could be used. Mineral oil is just too darn cheap right now. Remember that traditional methods of energy generation need fuels. You offset the cost for maintenance by the savings on fuel. Diesel generators are still a necessity, because the grid isn't at the point where we have full renewable stability, that's just a matter of time though, and storage is making huge strides. None of the things you are saying is an argument against going for renewables. You may want to have a look at SolarCity/TESLAs solar roof tiles. Also, solar panels *do* work on cloudy days, the output is just not as high.