The energy strategy of Google may be ambitious as it attempts to power all of its operations using renewable energy. According to Google’s Director of Energy and Sustainability, Rick Needham, about 34 percent of Google’s operations are currently being powered by renewable energy. Google’s goal is to use 100 percent renewable energy. However, there are also challenges in this regard and chief among these is that Google’s various offices and operations are spread across the globe in different countries and settings, Needham added.
The web search engine company recently spent $1 billion aimed at funding 15 wind and solar projects as a way of advancing a clean energy agenda. The power capacity of these projects totaled to two gigawatts of power to be used mostly in the U.S. Needham also said that this power capacity is equivalent to the power generated by the Hoover Dam.
Last Thursday, Google and its several partners inaugurated one of its solar projects and officially started its operations. The facility is located in Ivanpah, near the California-Nevada line and is considered as the world’s largest solar thermal project. Using 347,000 sun-facing mirrors in order to generate 392 megawatts of electricity, the project will energize more than 140,000 homes in California.
According to the senior internet analyst of Macquarie Securities, Ben Schachter, Silicon Valley is at the forefront of finding more efficient ways of power generation. And among the many Silicon Valley-based tech companies, Google is leading the pack in this regard. “They are certainly trying many different initiatives to figure out how best to manage their footprint in the environment, as well as how to manage the cost of all their energy.” added Schachter.
Although Google is not the first tech company in Silicon Valley to espouse and implement the use of renewable energy, the company is nonetheless very active at looking at the possibility of utilizing wind and solar energies in powering its internal requirements as well as providing power externally too.
Silicon Valley currently hosts several high tech companies, which are more or less huge consumers of energy and this includes: Facebook, Apple, Cisco Systems, eBay and Intel, among others. Google for example in its latest quarter report, spent $2.25 billion on data centers and infrastructure. By utilizing solar, wind and other alternative sources of energy, tremendous savings can be obtained, not to mention the benefit that clean energy was used.
According to Schachter, Google as a company is sending the message that it is forward-thinking and environment-friendly without necessarily forgetting their message to their shareholders that they are also thinking about reducing the operational costs.
Renewable energy comes from sources which are replenished naturally like wind, sunlight, tides, rain, falling and running water as well as geothermal heat. Unlike fossil fuels which take millions of years to form and deplete much faster, renewable energy is found in abundance. Another obvious disadvantage of fossil fuels is when these are burned it produces carbon dioxide that eventually contributes to global warming.
The current energy strategy of Google may be ambitious as it attempts to power all its operations using renewable energy. However, with the threat of global warming and its dire consequences becoming more apparent as the days pass by, it is but appropriate that companies and individuals do their share to use more renewable energy in their power requirements.
By Roberto I. Belda