While the renewables industry might be about to go into a nose dive in the U.S. because of the election of Donald Trump, some major tech giants are still hoping to go 100 percent green in the next year or so. Among them are Facebook, Apple and Google, with the latter promising that 2017 is set to be a landmark moment for the company.
According to the press releases, Google offices will be totally powered by renewables, with the company buying all its power from wind and solar. Google sees going green not as a gimmick but a way to ensure low-cost energy for the future. Tech companies now account for some 2 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions produced by industry and something needs to be done. According to environmental group the Sierra Club it’s a change that is long overdue:
“By transitioning global operations to run entirely on renewable energy, Google is charting a course for other corporations, institutions, cities and communities to take bold action that will create jobs, save money, and protect families from dangerous fossil fuel pollution.”
Facebook and Apple are also about where they source their power from. Apple managed to achieve over 90 percent of their energy in 2015 through renewables, though they have yet to achieve the 100 percent that Google are predicting. Facebook has launched its ‘Go 100% Renewable Energy’ page, which has achieved support from groups such as Greenpeace, hoping to encourage all companies to pick up the baton and make more eco-friendly power choices. Other companies, including IKEA and HP, are intending to go fully renewable by 2020.
How Easy Is It to Go 100 Percent Renewable?
While we get most of our energy from the grid, we can’t really decide how much of that comes from renewable sources. Companies that have solar panels or other renewable technologies installed on site can measure their performance more accurately, of course. Choosing utility suppliers who supply a stronger mix of green energy can make a difference but it will take a major shift in the UK’s energy portfolio to create any real impact.
The good news is that renewable energy is becoming more cost-effective and cheaper in many parts of the world. Companies can now join schemes such as RE100, which encourages business not only to be more transparent about where they source their energy but to actively seek out those suppliers and sources that use green tech, such as solar, wind, biomass and hydro.
Companies like Green Energy get a large part of their electricity from combined heat and power (CHP) and anaerobic digestion. Other companies, such as Ecotricity and Good Energy, also veer almost exclusively towards green sources to provide their power.
Of course, you can’t tell where the electricity you use comes from but you can make choices such as switching to eco-friendly companies who are focused on green tech. You also often get a better level of service from organizations such as these compared to the big outfits such as British Gas and Eon.
Another way that a business can ensure they go greener is to install technology such as solar panels on their premises. While recent cuts in Feed in Tariffs have made this less attractive, there are still savings to be made on long-term energy bills by producing your own power. The development of storage technology is also going to change the dynamics of the industry, allowing businesses to generate and store power for use 24/7.
There’s no doubt that business has a role to play in moving us all towards a more renewable and cleaner energy portfolio for the future. The more we demand it, the more big utility companies, such as British Gas, Npower and EDF, will have to supply the clean energy that we are looking for.