Google to use 100 percent renewable energy for all operations by 2017

Alphabet's Google said the milestone makes it the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor

Alphabet's Google on Tuesday announced it will be operating 100 percent on renewable energy for all its operations by 2017, including datacenters and offices worldwide, ahead of its previous goal of 2025.

"To reach this goal we'll be directly buying enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally," wrote Urs Hölzle, senior vice president for technical infrastructure at Google, in a blog post. "And we're focusing on creating new energy from renewable sources, so we only buy from projects that are funded by our purchases."

Google cites not only environmental factors for its switch to renewable energy, but costs savings as the cost of wind energy has fallen over 60 percent.

"Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy," Hölzle explained.

Gary Demasi, director of global infrastructure and energy at Google, said the company will focus on striking more regional energy deals in places like Asia where renewable energy is starting to pick up steam.

Google began its renewable power trek, with an original agreement in 2010. It has grown to 19 energy deals, making Google the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy.

Google's achievement announced on Tuesday doesn't cover the entirety of Alphabet's energy consumption. Demasi said similar sustainability efforts are in the works for other companies in the Alphabet umbrella.

Other technology giants have been moving toward renewable energy. Apple has been working to convert its datacenters to renewable energy.

Apple VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson, said in November 2015: "Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and it's going to take determination and innovation to make the much needed transition to a green economy."

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