The journey to 100 percent: Google nears the finish line

Google made a truly remarkable announcement today: renewable energy will power 100 percent of its global operations in 2017.

But what’s most impressive about this announcement? Nearly all of the renewable energy will come from wind power.

Google has contracted for 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity to date – and 94 percent of that is coming from wind. Google is purchasing this wind energy through long-term contracts, and it’s coming from states like Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, where local residents see the economic benefits every day from the wind farms.

“Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option,” said Urs Holzle, Google’s Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure. “Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.”

And Google is just one of a growing list of diverse companies that have made significant investments in wind energy. More than a dozen Fortune 500 companies, including Wal-Mart and General Motors, have committed to 100 percent renewable energy targets, and these companies are increasingly procuring wind energy to both meet their sustainability goals and secure long-term electricity price stability.

Corporatebuyers release photo

As Holzle noted, “we began purchasing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change — but it also makes business sense.”

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