Google Sets Unprecedented Goal to Tap Only Renewable Power by 2030
Alphabet Inc’s Google aims to power its data centers and offices solely with renewable energy by 2030, its chief executive told Reuters, becoming the world’s largest company to commit to ditching power from coal and natural gas.
Google Sets Unprecedented Goal to Tap Only Renewable Power by 2030.
The “broad target,” as CEO Sundar Pichai described it, will force Google to go beyond the tech industry norm of offsetting carbon emissions from electricity use and will require technological and political advances to do so.
“The problem is so huge that many of us must lead the way and show solutions,” Pichai said. “We are a small player in this, but we can lead by example.”
The wildfires that burned a record area in the western United States this month have raised public awareness of climate change, Pichai said, and Google wants to draw more attention through its new target, as well as product features.
Wind, solar and other renewable sources accounted for 61 percent of Google’s global hourly electricity use last year. The ratio varied by facility, with carbon-free sources meeting 96 percent of hourly energy needs at Google’s windswept Oklahoma data center compared to 3 percent at its Singapore operation. gas dependent.
But Google, which consumes slightly more energy annually around the world than Delaware residents and businesses, has become optimistic that it can close the gap with batteries to store solar power overnight, emerging sources like geothermal reservoirs and better management of energy needs.
“To plan 24/7 to be carbon-free in our data centers and campuses around the world, we see a huge logistical challenge, which is why we have been working hard over the past year to model how to get there, “Pichai said. . “And we are confident that we can get there in 2030.”
He refused to share the likely cost of achieving the goal.
Google’s big rivals, including Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, have focused on removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit over the next few decades, but none of them have publicly set a goal to stop sourcing energy based on carbon.
But companies share a common goal of catalyzing companies and governments to curb climate pollution by 2030, when scientists say global warming could turn catastrophic if left unchecked.
Jennifer Layke, global director of the World Resources Institute research group, which has received funding from Google, said the company inspired others in the United States and Europe over the past decade, but its efforts must now drive action in crucial polluting regions. like China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“If we can’t change carbon, we will suffer from firestorms and droughts,” he said.
Google has been carbon neutral since 2007, meaning that it has planted trees, bought carbon credits and financed large amounts of wind power in places where it is abundant to offset its use of coal and natural gas energy in other regions. It also said Monday that its estimated emissions of 1 million metric tons between 2006 and its launch in 1998 have now been offset.
The company’s new goals include bringing 5 gigawatts of renewable energy closer to some suppliers, funding tree planting beyond their offset needs, and sharing data or forging partnerships with 500 governments around the world to try to reduce 1 gigaton of emissions. of carbon per year by 2030.
Google said it would continue to offset carbon emissions unrelated to electricity use, such as employee travel.
Its carbon-free electricity goal meets a demand from 2,000 Google employees who last November asked the company to stop selling data storage and other cloud computing tools to oil companies.
Pichai said the company will continue to “support everyone” with its cloud services and help oil and gas companies transition to leverage other sources.