After 10 years as a carbon-neutral company, Google has announced that all of its data centers and offices will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by next year. The corporate giant made quick progress towards meeting its goal, which was set in 2016 and will be fulfilled by 2018. In its 2017 Environmental Report, Google declared that it had pioneered “new energy purchasing models that others can follow” and “helped drive wide-scale global adoption of clean energy.” “We believe Google can build tools to improve people’s lives while reducing our dependence on natural resources and fossil fuels,” said Google executive Urs Hölzle.
Google’s rapid shift to clean energy is welcome not only for the influence it may have on other companies but also for its impact on Google’s energy consumption, which was estimated in 2015 to be as large as the city of San Francisco. In line with its sustainability focus, Google has also launched an initiative to add air quality sensors to Google Street View vehicles and plans to change its waste disposal systems to ensure that the company adds nothing to landfills. Half of Google’s 14 data centers have already reached that particular milestone.
Most of Google’s renewable energy is purchased from an outside provider. However, they are making important moves to provide some of their own in-house energy, including the company’s recent acquisition of the Tellenes wind farm in Norway. The 12-year deal to provide 100 percent of the energy produced will power Google’s data centers in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland. Google expects to purchase power as soon as it is available, which is expected in fall 2017.