For a company as large and as influential as Google, achieving their goal of becoming 100 percent carbon neutral by, say, 2030 would be an ambitious enough goal. Yet just a decade after announcing this goal, they have announced they officially achieved this extraordinary milestone last year: Google’s total net purchases of energy from sources like wind and solar surpassed the amount of electricity they consumed around the world, including offices and data centers.
Considering the mere logistics for such an endeavor—the planning and design, partnerships formed, identification of the right vendors, purchasing, writing up of contracts, construction and maintenance, and many other tasks—it would be quite a daunting process. But they made it happen, and in record time.
That is critically important because the Information-Communications-Technology (ICT) ecosystem now consumes 1,500 terawatt-hours, which amounts to about 10 percent of the worldwide energy use. However, advances in cloud computing are helping to lower that usage, and the top four corporate purchasers of renewable energy now include not only Google, but other digital giants Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. Dozens of other companies that are big players in ICT are pursuing 100 percent renewable energy through the RE100 initiative.
Google’s achievement is also significant because their enormous purchasing power delivers business certainty for major renewable energy providers and countless downstream suppliers that are mostly small businesses.
That’s not only great for the domestic economy and job creation, it also has a compounding impact: Since Google is replacing or offsetting its current energy use, their large and ongoing financial support of renewable energy providers allows those companies to increase their investments in clean energy infrastructure and helps drive their future innovation and growth—which in turn makes the latest technology more accessible to other companies for years to come so they can become more energy efficient as well.
Google isn’t resting on its laurels, however. Just a few days after their announcement, they officially broke ground on a $600 million data center in Alabama at its site in Jackson County. The facility is expected to create 75 to 100 local jobs and generate economic activity. It also has a futuristic corporate headquarters under construction in Mountain View, California, that will rely on North America’s largest heat pump for its energy.
Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions thanks Google for their commitment to clean energy. This news was so exciting that we wanted to use our business spotlight series to commend them. We will resume our recognition of businesses of all sizes, including Walmart, as planned in our upcoming posts. In the meantime, please read our past posts on Visa and Apple if you haven’t done so already.