A Promise Fulfilled
In December 2016, about a year ago now, Google announced that the energy for its data centers would be from renewable sources. Now, the company announced via Twitter that recent clean energy purchases have made this goal a reality.
Google recently signed contracts for three wind power plants — for a total of 535 MW — which put their total energy infrastructure investment at over $3.5 billion, according to Electrek; a move which also gives the company over 3 gigawatts in total solar and wind capacity. Google says that this is enough to power 100 percent of its products and services.
New clean energy purchases bring our total wind and solar capacity to over 3 gigawatts—enough renewables to match 100% of the energy it takes to run our products in 2017. pic.twitter.com/8ykaWO9LU0
— Google (@Google) November 30, 2017
In a post on his personal LinkedIn page, Sam Arons, senior lead for Google's Energy & Infrastructure, gave a bit more detail about the recent purchases. "2*98 MW with Avangrid in South Dakota, 200 MW with EDF in Iowa, and 138.6 MW with GRDA in Oklahoma -- cementing Google as the largest corporate purchaser of renewables on the planet @ 100% renewable in 2017!"
The Renewable Revolution
Google's recent purchases have been driven by the continually decreasing costs of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind, which have both gone down 60 to 80 percent. “With solar and wind declining dramatically in cost and propelling significant employment growth, the transition to clean energy is driving unprecedented economic opportunity and doing so faster than we ever anticipated," Gary Demasi, global infrastructure director at Google, said in a statement.
Google is hardly the only company that's invested heavily in clean energy. Amazon is building a massive wind farm in Texas, which CEO Jeff Bezos has proudly shown off. Amazon's total renewable energy purchases are currently around 1.5GW. Google's purchases are more than double this number.
Apart from the obvious environmental impact of going fully renewable, Google's decision to invest in solar and wind power also contributes to the economic impact of clean energy. To date, more jobs in the U.S. have been generated by renewable energy compared to its fossil fuel counterparts. Aside from private corporations, a number of states in the U.S. and nations all over the world have also been working towards a 100 percent renewable future.