Google announced in a blog post that it now purchases more renewable energy than it consumes as a company. Google began these efforts in 2017, with the goal of purchasing as much renewable energy as it uses across its 13 data centers and all of its office complexes.
To be clear, Google is not powering all of its energy consumption with renewable energy. It’s matching what it consumes with equal amounts of purchased renewable energy. For every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed, it buys a kilowatt-hour from a wind or solar farm built specifically for Google. The company says that its total purchase of energy from sources like wind and solar now exceeds the amount of electricity used by its operations.
Google says it currently has contracts to purchase three gigawatts of output from renewable energy projects, and while it says “it’s not yet possible to “power” a company of our scale by 100 percent renewable energy,” these purchases do have a positive impact. Google says it’s helping spur development of clean energy projects, encouraging other companies to follow suit.
Several tech companies have also joined the fight against climate change, including Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. Apple Park is powered by 100 percent renewable energy and Apple has a commitment to bring four gigawatts of renewable power online by 2020. Amazon set a long-term goal of 100 percent renewable energy, and Facebook has as well. These are important steps, Susanne Fratzscher, a senior consultant for renewable energy at the World Wildlife Fund, said in an email to The Verge in 2016. “IT companies, through their energy-intensive data centres, are amongst the largest power consumers in the country.”