Google to be Powered by 100% Renewables from 2017

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Internet Giant Goes Green in a Big Way

The internet giant Google is going to be fully powered by renewable energy from next year. It has been gradually moving to the use of electricity from environmentally-friendly sources over the past few years, but from 2017 its electricity will be from wholly-renewable sources.

The company has 60,000 staff, and has 13 huge data centres which consume a lot of energy. Overall the tech sector accounts for around 2% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which is nearly as much as the aviation industry produces.

Marc Oman, EU Energy Lead at Google, said, “We are convinced this is good for business, this is not about greenwashing. This is about locking in prices for us in the long term. Increasingly, renewable energy is the lowest cost option… Our founders are convinced climate change is a real, immediate threat, so we have to do our part.”

Essentially Google has been doing large-scale deals with energy producers, all over the world, so it has been complex to reach this goal, first announced in 2012, but they will get there next year. The internet giant bought 5.7 TWh of renewable electricity last year – mostly from wind farms in the US, the equivalent of more than two thirds of the whole of electricity generated by solar panels in the UK in 2015. To put it in perspective, that is replacing with renewables the output of two medium-sized 500MW coal plants.

“We are the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world,” said Joe Kava, Google’s Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure. “It’s good for the economy, good for business and good for our shareholders.”

Unlike fossil fuel power sources, Mr. Kava said, wind supply prices do not fluctuate, enabling Google to plan better. In addition, the more renewable energy it buys, the cheaper those sources get. In some places like Chile, for example, Google has explained, renewables have at times been cheaper than fossil fuels.

This seems like a good deal for both Google and the renewables sector.

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