Why is Google investing so heavily in renewables?

Published on April 22nd, 2013 | by

wind farms googleWith concerns over the wider environment growing on an almost daily basis, the pressure is increasing on some of the world’s largest companies, particularly those in the technology sector to clean up their act. Google is one firm that seem to have paid attention to their carbon footprint, and have apparently invested huge amounts of money in renewable energy. (See the top twenty companies doing solar, for more info)

A brighter future?

Given their massive online presence, Google need to constantly use energy in order for their search site and spinoffs, including Google Plus to work 24/7; but that can take its toll on their energy bills as well as the wider environment. The decision by the search giants to go green could give their rivals reason to follow suit.

To date, Google has invested just over $1bn in green technology which even for a firm of its size looks like a staggering amount. But why invest so much? Perhaps the main reason behind Google’s bold decision is that they’re trying to improve their data centers’ energy efficiency, and using green technology can play a significant role in that.

A question of cost

One of the major issues that all companies, including Google, will probably have to face up to in the near future is the cost of gas and electricity. Reliance on fossil fuels will eventually end up falling due to coal, oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels being finite resources, and the need for clean alternatives will grow considerably in the next few decades.

Preparing for the future at all costs is something Google seems willing to do, and it’s possible that more and more companies might do the same. Renewable energy is seen as key to the world’s future economic prospects, as older forms of energy like coal and gas become antiquated and eventually unfit for use.

Covering all bases

Google’s massive investment in green energy has gone towards a number of large-scale projects across the US and overseas. $200m alone was spent on a wind farm in Texas, while other projects in Iowa and California using photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are helping to meet the company’s commitment to green energy, while contributing a large amount to different communities.

Many of their projects are highly ambitious, not least SolarCity, where thousands of residential properties will receive rooftop solar panels. Whether or not it and other projects will actually make a difference remain to be seen, but Google’s ideas are likely to receive widespread admiration.

Katy Jones of Dulas Ltd said of the initiative, “Google’s high energy useage makes them a prime candidate for implementing many renewable energy technologies. Solar is already hugely popular in California and uptake will increase considerably with the addition of Google’s project. Google should be applauded for taking such a bold step to address their future energy consumption needs.”

This post was supported by Dulas, a renewable energy engineering firm with 30+ years experience. UK businesses with high energy use can find out more about Dulas’ services and how renewable energy can help them offset their bills by contacting 01654 705060.

Photo from Shutterstock


About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride.
  • chris

    They financed big projects before 2011, but whhich projects were financed in 2012/2013 ?