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Zainab Calcuttawala

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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…

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Google To Run On 100 Percent Renewables By The End Of 2017

Wind Farm

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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  • D on December 10 2016 said:
    Nice one, Randy. Yeah, I'm sure you won't see a plume of hot air coming out from the chimneys of your oil refineries killing a bird or two, so I see what you did there. But given this little thing of a health crisis of smog in a little country called China (which is in a large part caused by oil and automobiles, in addition to coal), I'm sure burning oil produces *some* sort of negative health effect, right? I hope you're not naive enough to think that whatever can affect humans won't possibly have a dent on bird population? So where's your accounting for added healthcare costs and bird deaths?

    Now, don't get me wrong -- oil has done a great job for human civilization. But at some point, just like technological progress, we need to move on (I don't see you shoveling horse shit for a living, do you?). Ignoring the extreme left wing, I don't think anyone is calling for closing down all rigs and refineries yesterday. So we need a good transition, preferably trampolining off of cleaner tech like gas (not "clean" coal) while we ween off of oil over the next few decades (sure, gas comes with oil, so whatever).

    After all, we all live in a relatively closed system called Earth. Whatever farts we blow in here stays inside, for all of us to smell. Let's not ruin it for ourselves in the meantime, yeah?
  • Randy Verret on December 08 2016 said:
    Don, speaking of "fake news," you are right in the middle of it. I spent 24 years in regulatory & permitting in the oil & gas business and those operations don't even have a FRACTION of the "bird kills" that wind & solar have experienced. I OPENLY defy you to produce ANY peer reviewed scientific study or governmental statistics to back your statements. I'm all for environmental regulation & enforcement, it's just the equal treatment under the law part that I found inconsistent. RULES should be administered evenly to all parties....
  • D on December 07 2016 said:
    @Dan "I won't be not congratulator but did those coal/oil/gas power plants kill millions of birds?" There, fixed that for ya. And yes, yes they did. Wind killed about 0.27 birds per GWh (solar much less), and coal killed 9.4 birds per GWh. I'm pretty sure coal/oil probably killed a few orders of magnitude more humans than solar/wind as well, and added to YOUR medical and insurance costs that you're paying out of your own pocket (the most expensive kind, I might add...like cancer and other expensive to treat diseases).

    But given the fake news era we're in, I'm sure facts, math, and common sense aren't needed -- just something sensational will do.
  • Dan on December 07 2016 said:
    I won't be not congratulatory but did those windmills and panels kill millions of birds? Is it save the polar bear, kill the bird.? The polar bear population is making quite a comeback.
  • Randy Verret on December 07 2016 said:
    I wonder what percentage of total (actual) wind power generated in the U.S is eaten up by that 5.7 terawatts of electricity Google consumed in 2015? Sad fact is, Google, along with everyone else should be looking at CONSERVATION and reduced use of resources, not just simply shifting power sources. Last DOE estimates I saw, wind & solar only accounted for about 5% of our electrical power supply. Let's not do a "renewable victory lap" just yet...

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