Google will be powered 100% by renewable energy

Mountain View giant announced that the company’s data centres and offices will be exclusively powered by renewable energy by 2017. “And it’s just the beginning”.

Every search, click and imagine loaded on Google will have a lower environmental impact by 2017. Because next year the web giant will exclusively use renewable energy for all its operations.


The announcement, which was published on Google’s official blog and written by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastracture, reads: “I’m thrilled to announce that in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations — including both our data centers and offices”.

wind power falling price
The falling price of wind power could lead to the creation of 2.4 million new jobs all over the world. Source: Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)

Trillions of searches, unlimited amounts of power

Every video uploaded on YouTube, every search people make need a large amount of processing power. Which means electricity. “Today – Hölzle adds – we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts of wind and solar energy. That’s more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future”.

Google invested 3.5 billion dollars in about 20 new power plant projects all over the world, from Chile to Sweden. About two-thirds of them will be built in the United States. “Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option”.

google renewable energy
The graph shows how web giants are using and will use renewable energy.

Google and web giants towards a renewable future

This doesn’t mean that the entire company will be exclusively powered by solar or wind energy, but that all internal operations will use renewable energy. Considering that in 2015 data centres consumed 3 percent of the world’s energy supply (about 416 T Wh), it’s apparent that increasing investments by tech and web giants like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google is key for them to developing new technologies and reducing their environmental impact.

“The science tells us that tackling climate change is an urgent global priority” Hölzle concludes. “We believe the private sector, in partnership with policy leaders, must take bold steps and that we can do so in a way that leads to growth and opportunity”.

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