The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Google Discloses Carbon Footprint, Renewable Energy Goals

Google has been playing an interesting role in renewable energy development, and not only because it has invested more than $780 million in renewable energy generation and tech development.

The search giant on Thursday added a site that tallies the company’s electricity use, including the amount of renewable electricity it’s using, along with its carbon footprint. The data provide a good picture of the company’s energy consumption and reflect the company’s long-touted goal of minimizing its environmental impact. By revealing those numbers, Google also could put pressures on other large companies to embrace cleaner energy or do so more aggressively.

Through the new website, Google revealed that it used 2.26 million megawatt-hours of electricity and generated 1.46 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010.

But the company said it was able to offset the emissions completely by a combination of using renewable electricity and buying carbon credits. Google has signed power purchase agreements for wind energy to power its data centers; it also uses renewable energy provided by utilities. It generates its own solar power from an array at its Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, for example. By creating Google Energy, it received federal approval to buy and sell wholesale power.

Collectively, 25 percent of the Google’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2010, the company said. The goal is to reach 30 percent by the end of this year and more than 35 percent in 2012.

Google said its carbon footprint would have doubled without the energy efficiency measures, such as custom-designed servers and data centers that better gauge power use and use more efficient cooling technologies. It’s highlighted its new data center in Finland that uses sea water to cool the servers. Google claims its data centers use 50 percent less electricity than average data centers.

Just yesterday, the company said its Gmail, which is run by cloud-based servers, can be nearly 80 percent more energy efficient than an email system run by a company’s own in-house servers. That’s because Google offers a greater economy of scale with its fleet of data centers, which can apportion computing work more efficiently.

Obviously, Google wants more business and hopes its renewable energy support will help it gain converts. But the company is among a rare breed that has spent money not just to buy carbon offsets or clean power to reduce carbon footprint, but it also has invested aggressively in advancing renewable energy technology development and deployment. It’s an investor in BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah solar farm, which is under construction at California’s Mojave Desert.

Google also invested in Clean Power Finance, which provides software for solar installers to sell their services and to match their customers with financing options. Earlier this year, the search company launched a $280 million fund and hired SolarCity to install solar panels on residential rooftops. Google also has invested in geothermal tech developers such as AltaRock Energy and Potter Drilling.

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now


US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...

US, China Solar PV Players Team Up, Invest $100MM in Chile, Uruguay and Japan

Andrew Burger Private equity infrastructure specialist Hudson Clean Energy Partners and Hong Kong-based independent power producer ...

CEO Gilles: Challenge in Geothermal is to 'Level Playing Field' with Wind, Solar

Jennifer Delony The current challenge for the geothermal energy industry is what U.S. Geothermal CEO Dennis Gilles calls “leveling th...

NRG Energy to Form Renewable Unit, Sell Wind Assets to Yieldco

Mark Chediak and Matthew Monks, Bloomberg NRG Energy Inc., the worst-performing member of the S&P 500 Utilities Index this year, said it will form a renewa...


Customized Energy Solutions Executes Agreement with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (“MassCEC”) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) for Important Energy Storage Study

Customized Energy Solutions (CES) has entered into agreements with Massachusetts Clean ...

CleanTX Releases New White Paper on the Future of Texas Solar in Texas

We love this new White Paper from our clean energy partners CleanTX Welcomes Jennifer Delony as Associate Editor

PennWell Corporation is pleased to announce that Jennifer Delony has joined the company...

New Officers and Board Members Announced by IREC

A new slate of officers was elected by IREC's board of directors at its recent annual m...


Renewable Energy Starts to Makes Fossil Fuel More Expensive

by Chris Meehan A new report out from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) found an interesti...

Hawaii: World’s First Hydrogen Economy?

Can Hawaii become the world’s first renewable energy/hydrogen economy? Hawaii’s small size, isolation ...
energy efficiency

Beyond the Trend: Maximizing the Impact of Your Energy Efficiency Solution

A revolution is happening in the energy sector. From the new regulations pushed out earlier this summer by the EPA’s ...

Northeast States Create Cap-and-Trade Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Northeast states have worked together for several decades to address air quality issues and, more recently, climate c...


Ucilia Wang is a California-based freelance journalist who writes about renewable energy. She previously was the associate editor at Greentech Media and a staff writer covering the semiconductor industry at Red Herring. In addition to Renewable En...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Canadian Solar Inverters Webinar

Canadian Solar is proud to be hosting two free webinars in October! The ...

Doing Business in Europe – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

There is now 128.8 GW of installed wind energy capacity in the EU (appro...


The Grab Bag Rides Again

Pregame When I was sports editor for the college newspaper, I wrote a co...

How To Speak, How To Listen

As sales professionals, effective communication is paramount to our succ...

Get In The Habit

We all develop habits throughout our lives. Sometimes they’re bene...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now