Google is even greener than you thought
Last year, Google set a goal to triple its clean energy purchases by 2025. And it seems that the hard work is paying off. Last week, Google announced that in 2017, it will get all its energy from wind farms and solar panels.
- Google will get all its energy from wind and solar by 2017.
- That includes all the energy its data centers and offices use.
- The company purchases renewable energy to offset its fossil fuel use.
Quick – what was the last thing you Googled?
- Mozart in the Jungle season 3 release date
- Singing Ariel costume (don’t ask)
- How to remove chocolate stains from furniture
Whatever your search is, our collective Googling uses a lot of energy. Google is the largest corporate buyer of clean energy and has a renewable energy capacity of 2 gigawatts.
Last year, Google set a goal to triple its clean energy purchases by 2025.
And it seems that the hard work is paying off.
Last week, Google announced that in 2017, it will get all its energy from wind farms and solar panels.
Recent deals are helping it achieve that goal including partnering with Duke Energy on a solar project in North Carolina. The company is also adding 842 megawatts of renewable energy to its mix by investing in a Swedish wind farm and a solar plant in Chile.
Google sees these investments as a way to set a good example for other companies and help new renewable energy plants. Landing a customer like Google can give a new wind or solar farm the financial security it needs to succeed and be in business to sell even more energy to other companies.
The investment will hopefully help the company’s bottom line too. “For our part, these contracts not only help minimize the environmental impact of our services — they also make good business sense by ensuring good prices,” Google said.
While this is great news for Google, what does it mean for us? Other than knowing that the data centers needed to store all my junk Gmail (I’m looking at you Old Navy 40 percent off the whole store notifications), it might also help renewable energy costs come down.
In an interview with the New York times, Jonathan Koomey, a lecturer in the school of earth, energy and environmental sciences at Stanford, broke the cost benefits down to economies of scale and innovation.“Every time you double production, you reduce the cost of solar by about 20 percent. Wind goes down 10 to 12 percent,” he said.
Of course, I want to check my Gmail and Google things like, say, “what is Ina Garten’s husband’s profession” any time I want, even when the sun isn’t shining and wind isn’t blowing. So critics are quick to point out that Google does still rely on good ol’ coal and natural gas for many of its operations, even if this energy use is offset by purchases of renewable energy.
Either way, good job Google. I like that you’re trying.
Sarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.
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