On December 3rd, Alphabet, formerly Google, announced that it plans to add 842 more megawatts of renewable energy in the form of wind and solar power across the world. The company said it now has 2 gigawatts of contracts for renewable energy across the world and it will use the energy to power all of its operations with renewable energy by 2025.
"Today we're announcing the largest, and most diverse, purchase of renewable energy ever made by a non-utility company," wrote Urs Hölzle, Alphabet's SVP Technical Infrastructure. "We're one step closer to our commitment to triple our purchases of renewable energy by 2025 and our goal of powering 100% of our operations with clean energy."
"Today's agreements will add an additional 842 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to power our data centers. Across three countries, we're nearly doubling the amount of renewable energy we've purchased to date," Hölzle stated. The new purchases include an 80 megawatt solar power plant in Chile and and a 61 megawatt solar power plant in North Carolina from Duke Energy. The Duke Energy agreement was announced last week. The remaining 701 megawatts energy will come from wind power in the U.S. and a 76 megawatt wind farm in Sweden.
The company said the contracts for the projects range from 10 to 20 years, which provides developers and with the certainty and scale necessary to build projects. "For our part, these contracts not only help minimize the environmental impact of our services—they also make good business sense by ensuring good prices," Hölzle said.
Hölzle also highlighted other ways in which Alphabet is working to become more sustainable, which includes making sure its data centers are designed to be as energy efficient as possible. He added that the company is working with utilities to create new programs that allow projects like the new solar power plant in North Carolina to happen. Google has promoted a clean energy tariff that allows it to pay for all of the costs associated with that project so other ratepayers aren't responsible for paying for any of it.
The company also has invested $2.5 billion in large-scale wind and solar projects across the world, from the U.S. to Germany to Kenya. "These investments have been in some of the largest and most transformative renewable energy projects in the world with a goal to help drive renewable energy development not only as a customer but as an investor, and bring down costs for everyone," Hölzle said.
Alphabet is investing in other ideas, like Project Sunroof, which is mapping the solar potential on rooftops across the U.S., like the SolarEstimator.org tool. It's also investing in novel technologies, like Makani Power, which would create a new type of wind turbine that generates energy from propellers on kites tethered to a ground tower.
That announcement was made during the COP21 UN conference on climate change in Paris. "There's no better time to focus on renewable energy. We hope that our efforts play a small part in boosting all of us in the race to solve climate change," Hölzle said.