avatarby Mitja RutnikDecember 7, 20160 comments

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A while back, Google announced that it wanted to power its entire business with clean energy. It looks like the company is very close to realizing this ambitious goal, as it plans to reach 100% renewable energy for its global operations in 2017, which includes both data centers as well as its offices.

Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president for technical infrastructure, made the announcement on the company’s official blog. He also stated that Google will achieve its goal by directly buying enough wind and solar electricity on a yearly basis to account for every unit of electricity the company consumes.

Google will do this for two reasons. The first is that the tech giant wants to reduce its carbon footprint and do its share in helping fight climate change, while the second reason is simply that it makes business sense.

According to The Verge, Google consumed almost as much power last year as the entire city of San Francisco. In hopes of keeping the electricity costs down, the company is turning towards renewable energy.

Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option. 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. — Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president for technical infrastructure

Google also said that powering its entire business with clean energy is only the first step in its mission. The tech giant wants to focus on regional renewable energy purchases in places where its data centers are located.

It also wants to broaden the variety of energy sources it buys in order to enable renewable energy production throughout the day. As Urs Hölzle puts it, “The wind doesn’t blow 24 hours a day.”

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think it’s important for large companies to go green?

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