Google Will Be Powered Entirely By Renewable Energy From 2017

It's the biggest corporate buyer of renewable energy globally.

07/12/2016 16:49 | Updated 08 December 2016

Google has announced its data centres and offices will be powered entirely by renewable energy from 2017, setting the pace for the tech industry.

The search giant is now the biggest corporate buyer of renewable energy globally, according to a company blog.

Urs Holzle, SVP for technical infrastructure, revealed the firm is only buying from projects funded by its purchases, fostering new sources of renewables. 

Google first pledged in 2015 to go 100% renewable by 2017. Its data centres alone consume around 5.7 terawatt-hours of electricity. 

Pichi Chuang / Reuters
A Google data centre in Taiwan. 

“Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60% and 80% respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option,” said Holzle.

“Since the wind doesn’t blow 24 hours a day, we’ll also broaden our purchases to a variety of energy sources that can enable renewable power, every hour of every day.”

One of the motivations for Google to invest so much in renewable energy is the major tax incentives. 

But they look increasingly precarious with Donald Trump, a climate change denier, set to take up residence in the White House.

Gary Demai, head of Google’s strategy for energy told the BBC: “Incentives have been a valuable way, historically, of getting these projects built.

“The tax incentives still make a difference and they’re still important. They are scheduled to decline over the next few years. We have been on record acknowledging that we’re not concerned about that reduction - largely because the costs of the technology are coming down anyway.”

Google is just one of my corporations to have pledged to run 100% on renewable energy. 

Apple, Adobe, HP, Ikea, Starbucks and Goldman Sachs have all signed up to the RE100 campaign.

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