Google is a United States-headquartered, multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software. Most of its profits are derived from AdWords, an online advertising service that places advertising near the list of search results.Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Together they own about 14 percent of its shares but control 56 of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. An initial public offering followed on August 19, 2004. Its mission statement from the outset was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," and its unofficial slogan was "Don't be evil." In 2004, Google moved to its new headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex.Rapid growth since incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions and partnerships beyond Google's core search engine. It offers online productivity software including email , a cloud storage service , an office suite and a social networking service . Desktop products include applications for web browsing, organizing and editing photos, and instant messaging. The company leads the development of the Android mobile operating system and the browser-only Chrome OS for a netbook known as a Chromebook. Google has moved increasingly into communications hardware: it partners with major electronics manufacturers in the production of its "high-quality low-cost" Nexus devices and acquired Motorola Mobility in May 2012. In 2012, a fiber-optic infrastructure was installed in Kansas City to facilitate a Google Fiber broadband service.The corporation has been estimated to run more than one million servers in data centers around the world ; and to process over one billion search requests, and about 24 petabytes of user-generated data, each day .In December 2013 Alexa listed google.com as the most visited website in the world. Numerous Google sites in other languages figure in the top one hundred, as do several other Google-owned sites such as YouTube and Blogger. Its market dominance has led to prominent media coverage, including criticism of the company over issues such as search neutrality, copyright, censorship, and privacy. Wikipedia.
News Article | May 23, 2017
Utilities are breaking away from traditional electricity products to offer customers access to large-scale renewable energy. Until very recently, utilities did not differentiate the sort of power they offered customers. With very few exceptions, everyone shared in the cost and used electricity from the same fleet of power generating stations. But over the past four years, even regulated U.S. utilities have begun to offer new, large-scale renewable energy options to customers. World Resources Institute (WRI) data shows that across 10 U.S. states, utilities now offer 13 green tariffs -- programs that let customers purchase large-scale renewable energy over the grid. We take a closer look at the trends and motivations that have made utilities important players in the rapid scale-up of renewable energy to serve corporate buyers in the U.S. In markets where wind and solar power have become cost-competitive, utilities have more economic incentives to add renewable energy. Renewable resources offer a great low price for the next 20 years -- without the risks of fossil-fuel price spikes. Utility leaders overwhelmingly anticipate substantial solar and wind power growth in the next 10 years, according to Utility Dive's 2017 survey of the sector. Among utility executives, 71 percent say utility-scale wind will increase moderately or significantly over the next 10 years, and 82 percent predict the same for utility-scale solar. Recently, Pat Vincent-Collawn, CEO of PNM Resources, announced a plan to eliminate coal by 2031 and move toward renewables and natural gas, calling it “the best, most economical path to a strong energy future for New Mexico.” WEC Energy Group CEO Allen Leverett told shareholders in May 2017 that the company is exploring solar: “Probably the biggest change we’ve seen in last five years is solar and the cost of solar. The technology curve really has fallen fast in terms of improvement in cost.” MidAmerican Energy , a Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary, has talked about its extensive investments in wind in the same way -- as an effective way to keep prices low for customers. The company also used its wind investments to serve the renewable energy requirements of major data centers, such as Facebook and Google, in their service territory. Through RE100, 90 companies have committed to 100 percent renewable power. Clean energy and greenhouse-gas reduction targets are now the norm for Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies. The World Wildlife Fund and Ceres’ Power Forward 3.0 report shows that almost half of the Fortune 500 and a majority of the Fortune 100 now have climate and energy targets. Companies with renewable energy commitments can only go so far with on-site solar and efficiency. To meet the most ambitious targets, like a 100 percent renewable energy goal, companies have to tap into the grid and are turning to their utility to provide solutions. Big businesses have communicated their needs to U.S. utilities. Sixty-five companies have signed on to the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, which tell utilities and other suppliers what industry-leading, multinational companies are looking for when buying renewable energy from the grid. And utilities are listening. Utilities without green tariffs or state mandates are still considering new renewable energy options to attract businesses. Describing a new wind project, Appalachian Power’s new president Chris Beam told the Charleston Gazette-Mail, “At the end of the day, West Virginia may not require us to be clean, but our customers are. […] We have to be mindful of what our customers want.” To meet customer demand for renewable energy, traditional utilities have now created 13 green tariff options across 10 states. In the six months since the last update to WRI’s issue brief, "Emerging Green Tariffs in U.S. Regulated Electricity Markets," utilities have added three more green tariff options -- including the first offered by a public power company, Nebraska’s Omaha Public Power District (OPPD). States with renewable energy options are more competitive when attracting high-growth corporate business. When Omaha Public Power District announced a new green tariff to supply a Facebook data center, Tim Burke, OPPD’s president and CEO, told the Omaha World-Herald, “We have several customers right now that are putting together potential expansion projects and will utilize that [new] rate to grow.” Who is using these tariffs? To date, customers have contracted for approximately 900 megawatts of new renewable energy under five of the tariffs. This is approximately enough electricity to power 160,000 average American homes a year. This spring, utilities and customers are negotiating hundreds more megawatts of additional purchases. In April 2017 alone, major announcements from Puget Sound Energy and OPPD confirm that buyers are ready and willing to act in partnership with their utility. WRI's interactive U.S. Renewable Energy Map: A Guide for Corporate Buyers shows all of the green tariffs that utilities offer across the nation. The map also details one-on-one special contracts that customers have signed with utilities. These special contracts show a utility is willing to explore options, even if they haven’t gone as far as creating a new tariff. Today, green tariffs are a small part of the overall U.S. renewable energy market, reflecting their pilot status. But the programs create a runway for renewables at a time when demand is increasing, not just from businesses, but also cities, universities, hospitals and smaller companies. Innovative partnerships will continue to emerge between utilities and their customers as both grapple with the rapidly changing electricity sector. Green tariffs are only three years old, but with increasing demand, interest in renewables by utilities and the continued fall in renewable energy prices, green tariffs look like they’re here to stay. This post was republished with permission from the World Resources Institute.
News Article | April 7, 2016
Google is providing seed funding to the Center for Resource Solutions to set up renewable energy certification programs across Asia, which will help companies to know the power they buy comes from clean sources.
News Article | January 6, 2016
The energy industry has long met demand by varying the rate at which it consumes fuel. Controlling the output of an oil-fired power plant is much like changing the speed of a car — press the accelerator pedal and more gas flows to the engine. But the wind cannot be turned up or down. Smart software can make wind farms more efficient and responsive. Computer models can predict wind speed and control the number and capacity of turbines in operation to meet energy demand. Low-vibration designs and health monitoring would enable turbines to run more smoothly, avoiding expensive failures of gearboxes and other components whose replacement can cost hundreds of thousands dollars and take days. Optimizing renewables requires data: on device performance, energy output and weather predictions, seconds to days in advance. Vast quantities of information are collected by turbine manufacturers, operators and utility companies — yet hidden in their archives1. The information is prohibitively difficult for anyone outside to access. It took me two years of discussions with different energy companies and the signing of several non-disclosure documents to obtain enough data to carry out a study on the performance of wind farms in Iowa, for instance. Wind-turbine data are usually recorded every 10 seconds and averaged over 10 minutes (see 'Poor performance'); getting higher-frequency data involves obtaining permissions from sensor manufacturers. Even basic data such as wind speeds and historical data on turbine operations were initially impossible to obtain. By approaching different partners and developing data-sharing agreements, we eventually gained limited access to wind energy data. The lack of data sharing in the renewable-energy industry is hindering technical progress and squandering opportunities for improving the efficiency of energy markets. I call on the energy industry to follow the examples of defence, commerce and health care and share its data openly so that researchers can design better solutions for powering our planet. There is money to be made. Academic and industrial researchers need first to develop suitable wind-farm management models and prove their value. Software companies can sell energy and weather- monitoring and -predicting systems. Large technology companies such as the Hewlett Packard Enterprise or Google should establish wind-energy divisions for planning and balancing energy across different states and countries, as General Electric has done in wind-turbine manufacturing. Leveraging renewable-energy data makes economic sense for a product — electricity — that is universal. Unlike other commercial industries, energy utilities do not compete on the basis of product quality but on generation and distribution processes and business operations, which are the greatest beneficiaries of big-data mining. Efficient renewable-energy plants equipped with software for accurate power prediction and responsive management will be able to take advantage of real-time, or 'spot', energy prices — supplying more when prices and demand are high and less when they are low. This extra profitability will encourage more firms and utility companies to acquire renewable-energy assets. The renewable-energy industry is awash with data. Wind-turbine manufacturers routinely collect data from hundreds of sensors on experimental and installed devices, measuring, for example, wind speed, oil temperature, vibration and power generation2. Utility companies record similar data from boilers and generators. 'Balancing authorities', usually non-profit, governmental or private organizations, match the expected demand for energy with the production scheduled by utility companies hours ahead of generation. National, state and regional meteorological agencies and weather forecasters accrue radar data and run numerical weather-prediction models every 1–3 hours to produce forecasts and parameters such as wind speed. New sources of data are emerging. The wind industry is experimenting with using sonar and laser-based lidar measurements to anticipate the speed, direction and turbulence of the wind approaching wind farms. Some utility companies fly drones over their farms to check turbine blades and measure wind speeds and directions to improve power prediction and to anticipate fluctuations over minutes to hours. Renewable -energy producers operate in isolation. If industry players pooled their data and monitoring resources, they would all benefit. More-efficient and lower-cost wind-turbine designs could emerge, allowing turbines to last longer and produce more energy, and allowing output to be more accurately predicted. For example, combining data from wind farms in different US states would dramatically improve the accuracy of predicted hourly changes in power production. Experiments that are impossible with a real wind turbine or a farm can be simulated on a digital replica3. Different control strategies can be tested for maximizing and smoothing the energy output. Conditions of components and subsystems could be analysed to lower maintenance costs — the most significant expense of wind-energy generation4. Active control of turbine vibrations could be studied. More stable turbines are less likely to fail and could be run beyond their current upper speed limit (usually around 20 metres per second) to produce more energy. The impact of atmospheric conditions on wind-farm sites and energy production could be studied. Controlling wind turbines with data-driven software could, models show, increase energy production by at least 10%, and gains of 14–16% are possible. Increasing the maximum running speed could easily add another 10%. Wind-farm maintenance costs could be cut by 10% with a data-driven health-monitoring system. Yet the wind industry remains largely oblivious to data science5. A few utility companies are setting up in-house data-analytics teams, but the benefits of working with academic researchers and others are not recognized. Although models and software that do not directly impinge on turbine operations — such as a graphical display of a turbine output — are broadly welcomed, direct interventions are impossible. I have been unable to test control solutions developed in my Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Iowa in any commercial settings. Even public utilities and colleges that own and operate wind turbines ended negotiations once they realized that their insurance and maintenance contracts would have to be modified. Wind-turbine insurance contracts tightly prescribe operating conditions and safety aspects, sometimes requiring turbines to be equipped with specific sensors (such as for tower vibration and rotor speed). Potential for exposing flaws and poor design practices is another obstacle. Manufacturers may not want to reveal performance metrics that are covered by warranty terms or design details that might point to patent infringements. Competition is a worry. Other sectors do better. Defence, commerce and health-care organizations have developed processes for sharing data with the research community while maintaining confidentiality and security. Some have created benchmark data sets to test data-analysis algorithms. Others run competitions to solve specific problems. For example, in 2006, the television- and film-streaming service Netflix offered a US$1-million prize for an improved algorithm to predict rating scores of films. In 2011, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) ran the Round Robin project, in which they shared high-frequency vibration data from a healthy6 and a faulty gearbox with competing teams to discover the most accurate ways to diagnose faults. It has been estimated that the value of the voluntary contributions to the project from the 16 participating teams (including the Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Iowa) was worth between $2 million and $3 million. Non-disclosure agreements outlining the specifics of data sharing and results dissemination are used in data-intensive projects. Consumer-goods company Proctor & Gamble, for example, reveals information about a product (a new shampoo or a shaver, for instance) early in the design stage to potential customers, whose feedback improves the final design. On social-media platforms such as Facebook, users determine the scope of information sharing. The renewable-energy industry should adopt similar practices. First, it needs to decide which data can be shared and at what risk. Wind speed and direction, for example, could be released given that anyone could measure them. Although data on the real-time energy output of an entire wind farm should be rightfully protected for competitive reasons, sharing power produced by one or a few turbines would not compromise business value. When necessary, data could be transformed or anonymized; for example, by reporting relative percentage changes rather than absolute power values. Wind-energy associations in Asia, Europe, South America and North America should facilitate the data-sharing discussion. A summit of these players should define a path to open-access data as follows. First, make all renewable-energy stakeholders aware of the problems and of the benefits of data sharing. Invite representatives from other manufacturing and service industries to present their data-sharing practices. Second, develop data-sharing protocols and governance structures. US Department of Energy laboratories such as the NREL and Sandia National Laboratories could lead this effort because they collect renewable-energy data from some wind-farm operators for their own studies. Collecting data at higher frequencies (in some cases), at fraction-of-a-second intervals, from more utility companies and facilitating open access to them would be the next step. Although data collection should ideally be global, in reality, most useful results would be regional. Third, develop a data-and-knowledge sharing platform for renewable energy. Stakeholders must decide how the data are to be assembled and pre-processed for use by the research community and industry. Ideally, data would flow out to the research community and research results in the form of new models, algorithms, design solutions and other results would flow in. The vast majority of the results produced by the research community would remain open to review, scrutiny, future use and benchmark studies. Industry could retain ownership of the internally generated results as well as those produced by research contracts. This long-awaited engagement will generate new science and greatly benefit renewable-energy companies, energy-equipment manufacturers and society by bringing more clean energy at a lower price.
News Article | March 30, 2016
Independent US power producer EDF Renewable Energy , a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, revealed it led the US in terms of new wind energy capacity additions in 2015. EDF Renewable Energy announced earlier this month that it lead the way in the US wind energy market for the development of new wind energy capacity additions in 2015 — developing 1,055.4 MW across five states, leaving them with a 12% market share. “2015 was a record year for us,” said Tristan Grimbert, CEO and President of EDF Renewable Energy . “We are extremely proud to achieve 12% of the market share thanks in part to the acquisition of Own Energy . It could not be done without the commitment of our team members, landowners and communities. We thank each of them for making EDF RE a great success this year.” In addition to eight new wind power projects across some of the top states in the US for wind power production, EDF Renewable Energy is also leading the way when it comes to commercial and industrial installations, with another five deals made with Fortune 500 companies totaling 543 MW. Some of the companies EDF Renewable Energy has partnered with include names like Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google. “Corporate America is increasingly turning to renewable energy to power its business operations, based both on consumer preferences and because renewable energy simply makes economic sense,” said Ryan Pfaff, Executive Vice President of Development, EDF Renewable Energy . “We are honored to have partnered with 18% of the corporations that signed renewable power purchase agreements over the past 3 years.” EDF Renewable Services, the company’s operations and maintenance (O&M) group, has 10.7 GW of wind, solar, bioenergy, and storage under contract in 26 US states and provinces. “Our customers have come to rely on our deep technical expertise with a variety of turbine types, coupled with our strong focus on safety,” added Larry Barr, Executive Vice President of Operations and Maintenance, EDF Renewable Services. “2015 was a good year for us, and with an emphasis on value-added services such as asset management and blade inspections and repairs.” Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.” Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | December 7, 2016
Internet behemoth Google has announced that it will reach 100% renewable energy for its entire global operations by 2017, including all its data centers and offices — meeting its original renewable energy targets well ahead of schedule. Google is arguably the biggest name on the internet, but the company has also made a name for itself as one of the leading companies purchasing renewable energy. Only two months ago, Google announced that it had partnered in a consortium to jointly source renewable energy projects in the Netherlands, which itself followed a few months after Google announced the purchase of 236 megawatts (MW) of wind energy for its European operations. Google was “one of the first corporations to create large-scale, long-term contracts to buy renewable energy directly,” signing its first renewable energy power purchase agreement back in 2010. The company is currently the world’s leading purchaser of renewable power, with commitments up to 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar energy. Google is also a member of RE100 and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). Announced on its blog this week by Urs Hölzle, Google’s Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure, the company is now planning to ensure all its global operations are powered by 100% renewable energy sometime in 2017 — well ahead of previous targets of tripling its renewable energy purchasing by 2025. Google will not only aim to buy “enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally,” but the company is also focusing on “Creating new energy from renewable energy sources,” meaning that it will “only buy from projects that are funded by our purchases.” Unsurprisingly, the news has been warmly welcomed by Google’s environmental partners. “Our sincere congratulations to Google on reaching this fantastic milestone earlier than expected — it shows companies everywhere that a complete transition to renewable power is both possible and makes business sense,” said Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group. “I am delighted to celebrate this huge milestone with one of ACORE’s leading member companies,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Google has been committed to large-scale, long-term renewable energy contracts for many years — and it’s paying off. This impressive early achievement of Google’s 100% renewable energy goal is a definitive demonstration that renewable energy is cost-effective and readily available at scale today.” Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | December 6, 2016
A lot of leading companies have committed to getting all of their energy from renewable sources. Google has dispensed with its aspirational phase and will actually achieve this milestone in 2017, the company revealed Tuesday. "Over the calendar year globally, for every unit of energy we consume, we’re purchasing the equivalent amount or more of renewable energy" in 2017, said Neha Palmer, head of energy strategy at Google's global infrastructure division. The search engine and web services provider has long been a leader in corporate renewables, using its clout and purchasing power to open up new avenues for procuring clean energy. The future of federal renewables policy remains hazy since the election of Donald Trump, meaning corporate leadership could play an even greater role in the adoption of wind and solar power in the next few years. The announcement means that all of Google's data centers, offices and operations will be powered by clean energy. Not all of that clean electricity is available in the vicinity of the facilities, so in those cases, the company buys the equivalent power and retires the associated renewable energy credits. It's hard to say this milestone has been reached ahead of schedule, because the goal was not pegged to a specific date. With that said, Google's announcement comes ahead of most of the 83 companies in the RE 100 group that have announced a 100 percent renewable goal. Elsewhere in Silicon Valley, Apple got to 93 percent in 2015 but evidently hasn't closed the gap. Adobe is aiming for 2035. Facebook has targeted half of its data center energy use by 2018, with full company-wide renewables "eventually." Of the big tech players, Microsoft took the gold medal, meeting its carbon neutral commitment back in 2014. The gap between the goal and the achievement does not close easily. Google first procured wind energy in 2010, and established the goal in 2012. The company reached 37 percent renewable in 2014 and 44 percent in 2015. A number of deals that closed about a year ago are now bearing fruit, Palmer said, leading to 900 megawatts coming on-line in the next four to six weeks. That will help close the distance to 100 percent. Accomplishing the 100 percent goal followed not just renewables procurement, but extensive demand-side work to reduce the load Google has to serve. In doing so, the company followed the corporate sustainability steps laid out by Hervé Touati, the managing director of the Rocky Mountain Institute, in a recent episode of GTM's podcast the Interchange. "It's clear for most, if not all, businesses that the first thing to do is energy efficiency, because that is the most cost-effective way of going toward executing on your targets," he said. For Google, that meant serious work at the data centers to cut down on the electricity needed to run all those searches and YouTube clips. Those data centers now deliver 3.5 times as much computing power as they did five years ago, while using the same amount of electricity, the company said. Google's parent company Alphabet also leveraged in-house expertise from DeepMind, its machine-learning subsidiary, to reduce energy needs. By training the computers to optimize operational factors like fans and cooling systems, DeepMind was able to cut the energy use for cooling data centers by 40 percent, yielding a 15 percent drop in overall energy overhead. Efficiency can only get you so far, Touati noted. The same applies to onsite generation -- the data centers need too much power. "[If] you can cover the roof of a data center with solar PV panels, maybe you cover 5 percent of the electricity needs," Touati said. "If you want to reach your...100 percent renewable target, the only option you have today is to actually source electricity from offsite projects." That's what Google did, to the tune of 2.6 gigawatts worldwide. In some locations where renewable purchase options didn't exist, the company worked with the local utilities to create them. That process helped produce Duke Energy's Green Source Rider, which enabled Google to purchase power for its North Carolina data center from a 61-megawatt solar project. Now other companies can buy through that program as well. "We hope we can expand markets even more and work with market structures to enable customers to have choice in their energy supply," Palmer said. "The green rider was one way to do that." Up next for Palmer's team: procuring new generation to keep pace with the company's growing energy needs, and focusing more on finding renewable energy sources in the regions where Google consumes energy. "Trying to navigate all those individual markets can be a challenge sometimes," Palmer said. "You really have to tailor the approach to each individual market. It's our hope that it can become a lot easier."
News Article | December 6, 2016
Google says it will reach 100% renewable energy for its global operations in 2017, a milestone that will cement its status as the world’s largest corporate buyer of wind and solar power. The California-based internet search giant now has commitments totaling 2.6GW of wind and solar energy, more than double second place Amazon and five times Microsoft and Facebook, in fourth and fifth place, respectively. “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,” Urs Holzle, senior vice president technical infrastructure, said in a blog post. “And we’re focusing on creating new energy from renewable sources, so we only buy from projects that are funded by our purchases.” In 2015, the company consumed 5.7 terawatt hours of electricity across its operations, nearly as much as the City of San Francisco. “Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centres, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy, ” he wrote. Google claims its purchasing commitments will result in infrastructure commitments of more than $3.5bn globally, about two-thirds of that spending in the US. Google has signed 20 power purchase agreements overall including six totaling 842MW in 2015, which it says was the largest “aggregate purchase of renewable energy ever made by a non-utility.”
News Article | December 6, 2016
(Reuters) - Alphabet’s Google is on track to purchase enough renewable energy to cover all its global electricity consumption next year, the company said on Tuesday. Google expects its purchases of wind and solar energy will be enough to cover its data centers and offices worldwide starting in 2017. Google began with a global target because companies often cannot specify what type of power utilities supply to their facilities, and renewable energy is unavailable in some key markets where it operates, particularly in Asia. The company will now focus on striking more regional deals where its data centers and other significant operations are located, said Gary Demasi, director of global infrastructure and energy. “We have to keep up with growth but also need to evolve beyond this very important milestone for Google, to be able to do renewable energy projects in every market where we operate,” he said. Google signed its first long-term renewable power agreement in 2010 and has since struck 19 similar deals, making it the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, Demasi said. The cost of wind energy has fallen 60 percent during that time, Demasi said, underscoring the business rationale for renewable energy. The focus on renewable energy may also help Google’s bid to expand its cloud computing business, he said, noting some prospective clients appear to be taking environmental impact into account. “To what degree it is a deciding factor on whether you go with Google or somebody else I can’t say, but it will likely be part of some companies’ equation,” he said. While the milestone announced Tuesday covers only Google, the company accounts for the majority of Alphabet’s energy consumption, Demasi said. Broader sustainability efforts involving other Alphabet companies are in the works, he added.
News Article | December 6, 2016
Green energy projects for data centers and other facilities are goals for a lot of tech companies, but one of the largest – Google – now says it’s going to tip the scale at 100% renewable energy powering its entire global operations by 2017. Google notes this will include both its data centers and its corporate offices. How’d it get here? Google kicked off its large-scale direct investments in renewable energy beginning in 2010, with the acquisition of the entirety of the power generated by a 114-megawatt Iowa wind farm. Now, Google claims the title of the “world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power,” with renewable purchasing on a scale that’s more than twice as large as its next closest competitor, Amazon. While it’s not quite there, Google says it will cross the 100% mark next year due to its commitments to purchase enough direct wind and solar-sourced power to match its annual consumption for the year. Google isn’t being solely charitable with this drive to adopt green power, either; it notes in a blog post that solar, wind and renewables as a general category is becoming the cheapest source of power around, meaning that as its data center operation costs grow with an increasing investment in cloud-based services, it makes the most fiscal sense for Google to continue to invest in creating new renewable sources to help meet its growing demand. That’s why the company says it’s not going to stop its investments in renewable power generation project development once it crosses the 100% mark; they’re not treating it as a finish line, in other words, and are instead looking to further diversify their power sources so they’re not so reliant on wind, for instance; plus, Google still sources a lot of its power from renewable energy credits, which means it may actually be getting power directly from non-renewable sources in some areas, but it’s paying for enough generation in other locations with renewable sources that it’s getting credit for excess production that’s going back into the grid for other consumers. Google is also releasing its first comprehensive environmental report (embedded below) alongside today’s announcement, which details its efforts to minimize its environmental footprint, and also includes information about other green initiatives at the company. There’s also a new environmental website that will collect hat kind of info on an ongoing basis. Other tech giants have made similar claims and set similar goals, including Apple, which announced in September that it’s joining the RE100 global initiative which comes with a goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy sourcing. Apple has also previously claimed a 93 percent renewable energy use rate for its global operations, and also said that its organizations in the U.S., China and 21 additional companies are already at 100 percent renewable power.
News Article | December 7, 2016
"A lot of leading companies have committed to getting all of their energy from renewable sources. Google has dispensed with its aspirational phase and will actually achieve this milestone in 2017, the company revealed Tuesday. "Over the calendar year globally, for every unit of energy we consume, we’re purchasing the equivalent amount or more of renewable energy" in 2017, said Neha Palmer, head of energy strategy at Google's global infrastructure division. The search engine and web services provider has long been a leader in corporate renewables, using its clout and purchasing power to open up new avenues for procuring clean energy. The future of federal renewables policy remains hazy since the election of Donald Trump, meaning corporate leadership could play an even greater role in the adoption of wind and solar power in the next few years.