Energy Transition

How Google and other tech giants are betting big on clean energy

A woman walks past a Google logo© Jean-Paul Pelissier / Reuters;

Google just bought 236 megawatts of energy – from wind farms that aren’t even built Image: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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Energy Transition

Google has bought the future output from two huge wind farms in Norway and Sweden.

Part of the company’s drive to power itself entirely using renewable sources, the electricity will be used to run its European data centres.

The farms are yet to be built though.

The Norwegian project, consisting of 50 turbines near Stavanger, will be ready late next year. The 22 turbines near Mariestad in Sweden, are set to be completed in early 2018.

Google going green

The announcement is the latest in a series of power purchase agreements completed by the Silicon Valley giant. With seven agreements in place in Europe, and 18 deals across the globe, Google is set to have 2.5 gigawatts of energy at its disposal.

This is “the equivalent of taking over 1 million cars off the road,” said Marc Oman, EU Energy Lead, Google Global Infrastructure, in a blog post.

It’s a tech thing

Data centres need a lot of power – around 2% of US consumption according to Berkeley Lab research – so Google is not alone in trying to use cleaner energy.

Server Electricity Use for All Scenarios
Image: Berkeley Labs

According to Fortune, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon have all been shifting to greener sources, by buying wind and solar power.

In fact, Apple is generating so much energy that it wants to start selling some directly to consumers, reported USA Today in June.

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