Big tech companies like Microsoft are up to all sorts of impressive research in the fields of artificial intelligence, medicine, and robotics. But to power all that, you need, well, power. Sometimes our environment really pays for this innovation.

One of Microsoft's data centers, a massive consumer of power. Microsoft Green

To solve this problem, Microsoft is going green. The company just announced new targets for its renewable energy use, pledging to run 50% on green energy by 2018. Early in the next decade, Microsoft hopes to be at 60%, then continue increasing each subsequent year. It is looking at a mix of solar, wind, and hydropower for its needs.

Right now, 44% of Microsoft's needs are supplied by green energy, and it signed a new deal to bring 20 megawatts of new solar energy onto the grid in Virginia earlier this year. The company is also working on green energy research, such as better battery technologies.

Companies aren't just focusing on shifting to renewable energy to help the planet be more green, though. Some are placing data centers at colder locations to mitigate cooling, and Microsoft is even looking at storing them underwater. Google just developed machine learning algorithms that minimize energy and coolant use in real-time.

Really, it won't just be individuals or governments at the frontline in the battle against climate change—even big companies are looking to join the fight.

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