Google claims to be the world's biggest buyer of renewable energy, and plans to hit a milestone in 2017, buying enough renewables to 100% offset consumption of fossil fuels for global operations, including data centers and offices.
The drive to renewables isn't just a matter of principle for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). It also helps control costs. Electrical costs are among Google's largest expenses for operating its data centers. 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," says Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure for Google, in a blog post Tuesday. Moreover, renewable energy costs are stable, providing protection against energy price swings.
Google buys energy from power companies like everybody else, much of which is generated by fossil fuels. But Google also funds renewable energy projects to balance out that usage, so the result is that there's no net consumption of fossil fuels.
Google's purchasing commitments will result in infrastructure investments of more than $3.5 billion globally, about two thirds of that in the United States, Hölzle says.
- LinkedIn Powers Up Oregon Data Center
- Energy 2020: Technology Innovation to Fuel Power Efficiency
- 48V Data Center Rack Saves $$$
- AWS Announces Ohio Wind Farm
— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud