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Wind farms and solar panels will provide 100 percent of the energy Google uses to power its business operations by the end of next year, according to a report by The New York Times.
Over the past decade, the California-based giant has secured deals with renewable producers that guarantee Google’s purchase of the energy produced through sponsored wind turbines and solar cells. When the energy firms head to the bank to secure financing for the construction of new turbines or cells, Google’s contracts serve as a major asset.
The ever-increasing amounts of renewable energy make their way back to the electrical grid, through which Google powers its buildings. By next year, the company’s green energy contributions will essentially equate to no net fossil fuel usage from the grid.
“We are the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world,” Joe Kava, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, told the Times. “It’s good for the economy, good for business and good for our shareholders.”
Google also worked with the 50,000-acre wind farm in Minco, Oklahoma, to supply electricity to a data center in the same state.
Google’s 2015 consumption of 5.7 terawatt-hours of electricity “is equal to the output of two 500 megawatt coal plants,” Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, said in an interview. “For one company to be doing this is a very big deal. It means other companies of a similar scale will feel pressure to move.”
Facebook, a company of comparable size and scope, has forged similar purchase-guarantee deals with wind producers in the past. Amazon has shown a preference for the solar power route, with the mega-shopping site expected to fulfill 40 percent of its needs through renewables by the end of the year.
Microsoft has been carbon neutral since 2014, but only through the purchase of carbon offsets and other green projects on the side.
Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…