Google has commited $2.5B - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Industrial, Commercial, Finance, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  December 15, 2016

Google's renewable energy investments hit $2.5B

Set to reach its goal of powering its global operations with 100% renewable energy next year, Google has made $2.5 billion in equity commitments for renewable energy projects worldwide, according to its 2016 environmental report. 

That investment amounts to about 3.7 GW, making it the largest corporate purchaser of green power, according to the recently released report. The number is significantly higher than the 2.7 GW of wind and solar the company said it had committed on Dec. 6 in making its 100% renewables announcement. 

The environmental report also put numbers on Google's efforts to make its data centers as energy efficient as possible; the company has said its data centers use about 50% less energy than a "typical" data center. Google's data centers now deliver more than 3.5 times as much computing power while using the same amount of electrical power as they did five years ago, and nine pages of the environmental report detail how. 

Google said in the report: 

To achieve this, we first outfit each data center with high-performance servers that we’ve custom designed to use as little energy as possible. We improve facility energy use by installing smart temperature and lighting controls and redesigning how power is distributed to reduce energy loss. We employ advanced cooling techniques, relying primarily on energy efficient evaporative cooling and using non-potable water whenever possible. Finally, we apply machine learning to drive energy efficiency even further.

In 2015, Google said the average annual power usage effectiveness for its global fleet of data centers was 1.12, compared with the industry average of 1.7, "meaning our data centers use nearly six times less overhead energy." Additionally, 12 out of 13 Google-owned and -operating data centers globally have achieved ISO 14001 (environmental management) and ISO 50001 (energy management) certifications, according to the report. 


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