Google sets milestone to be 100% powered by renewable energy in 2017

In its latest announcement, Google plans to reach 100% renewable energy for its global operations by 2017 — including both data centers and offices.

Google Inc’s data centers and offices will use 100% renewable power in 2017, and this is just the first step, the search engine giant said in an announcement.

The company buys wind and solar power annually to account for every kWh of electricity its operations consume globally. The company calculates that its commitments will reach 2.6 GW of wind and solar power.

Google’s plans for the future include the use of a variety of sources to ensure non-stop renewable power supply. The company said it would continue to pursue direct contracts, with a greater focus on regional renewable energy supply deals close to data centers and significant operations.

“Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60% and 80%, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option,” Urs Hoelzle, senior VP of technical infrastructure, said in a blog. Adding that the stable cost of renewable power supply, under long-term contracts, provides protection against price swings in energy.

The company says its purchasing commitments in renewable energy will result in over USD 3.5 billion (EUR 3.26bn) in global infrastructure investments, and roughly two-thirds of that is in the US.

“The science tells us that tackling climate change is an urgent global priority. We believe the private sector, in partnership with policy leaders, must take bold steps and that we can do so in a way that leads to growth and opportunity.”

Google buys renewable power via power purchase agreements (PPAs) and it is also a strong supporter of renewable energy certificate (REC) programs.

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