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Google Businesses Power United States

Google Will Hit 100 Percent Renewable Energy This Year (inverse.com) 130

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Inverse: Google has announced that after 10 years a carbon-neutral company, it will be able to brag running on entirely renewable energy at the end of 2017. That means that all of the electricity the company consumes in both its data centers and offices are provided by wind and solar energy. Announced in Google's 2017 environmental report, Google says it has created "new energy purchasing models that others can follow" and that "we've helped drive wide-scale global adoption of clean energy." In addition to being an obvious PR boon, the company says its mission of full sustainability fits in with its larger mission. (It also makes the fact that as recently as 2015 Google alone reportedly consumed as much energy as the entire city of San Francisco in a year way more palatable.)

One step the company has recently taken in marrying its ethos of sustainability with its products is a new initiative to equip Google Street View vehicles with air quality sensors. In addition to its goal of being run by renewable energy, Google is also working on achieving zero waste to landfill. Nearly half of the company's 14 data centers have already reached this goal, according to Google executive Urs Holzle's 2017 Google Environmental report released on Tuesday.

Google Will Hit 100 Percent Renewable Energy This Year

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  • No amount of virtue signaling is going to save them from that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2017 @02:55AM (#55354255)

      You stupid crackpots need to stop using meaningless words as replacements for thought.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Waaaaaah! Stop caring! Your investing large amounts of money in clean energy makes my coal rolling look bad!

      Actually there is probably a good economic reason for doing it. Renewables are now the cheapest form of electricity.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Renewables are now the cheapest form of electricity.

        Let me lookee in Ontario. Hmm...that would be a nope. [financialpost.com] And it's only gotten worse in the last year since that article was published, and they've become more expensive.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          In the UK renewables are now going subsidy free, the only source of electricity available that can do so. There is simply nothing cheaper, nothing else with zero subsidy.

          Maybe you should be asking why it's gone so badly wrong in Ontario when other places have benefited hugely. Also less important but still worth pointing out, I said "now" and your article is about things that started happening in 2003.

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            Maybe you should be asking why it's gone so badly wrong in Ontario when other places have benefited hugely. Also less important but still worth pointing out, I said "now" and your article is about things that started happening in 2003.

            Keep in mind that the only reason that it can go subsidy free in the UK is because you're an island with next to zero natural resources, or resources you want to exploit. On the otherhand, canada(like the US) has an over abundance of natural resources that are easy to exploit on top of things like rivers and natural valley's which make dam construction easy.

            Maybe you should ask why it's such a failure all over north america except in specific places. Oh, the green energy bit didn't happen until 2009. An

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Next to zero natural resources? We had a massive coal industry that only closed because coal demand went down and cheap imports went up. There is still estimated to be ~100 years worth left in the ground. We also have gas from the North Sea and potentially via fracking. We were also one of the first to start using nuclear power, after the US screwed us over on the bomb and we had to build our own.

              We also have quite a bit of hydro power. Up north the wind resources are some of the best in the world, although

              • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

                ~100 years worth? That's massive? The town my sister lives in out in Alberta has enough coal around it for 600-800 years of current usage(US, Canada and China). That's one area of northern alberta not even close to the area of the oils sands(that's 500km away), or one of the dozen other mines in just Alberta alone. There's multiple mines in eastern canada that have more. That's not even counting one of the largest sour gas(bitter natural gas) concentrations in the world. Yeah, you've got next to zero

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  ~100 years worth? That's massive?

                  Mashiki, I know we rarely see eye-to-eye, but come on... Are you really saying that renewables are cheaper because there's "only" 100 years of coal left in the UK, not to mention the cheap imports that are what killed our local coal industry?

  • by niftydude ( 1745144 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @11:47PM (#55353935)

    Google has announced that after 10 years a carbon-neutral company, it will be able to brag running on entirely renewable energy at the end of 2017. That means that all of the electricity the company consumes in both its data centers and offices are provided by wind and solar energy.

    So this doesn't include fuel for google street view cars, manufacturing processes for the Pixel phone, Google home and other hardware, etc.
    Google is nowhere near 100% renewable yet.
    Congrats to google on this particular milestone, but I am utterly sick of lying click-bait headlines.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msauve ( 701917 )
      "So this doesn't include fuel for google street view cars, manufacturing processes for the Pixel phone, Google home and other hardware, etc. Google is nowhere near 100% renewable yet."

      Are you doing better? Not that your claim has any valid logic behind it - just because they didn't specifically claim they'll soon be "renewable" in all areas doesn't mean they aren't headed that way.

      And, define "nowhere near." I'll submit that their data centers and offices are, by far, their largest energy consumers.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2017 @12:31AM (#55354043)

        the headline is clickbait -- it doesn't mention "operations" as the qualifier from Google's own report. without that. it's click-bait.
        flame on.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You are at the bad-end of Dunning-Kruger.

        Are you doing better? Not that your claim has any valid logic behind it

        It does not take a master chef to realize the cafeteria is selling shit sandwiches. Ironic you point out "valid logic" after making such a claim.

        just because they didn't specifically claim they'll soon be "renewable" in all areas doesn't mean they aren't headed that way.

        The claim is that Google is 100% renewable now, not that they "[are] headed that way". Is the claim true or false?

        I'll submit that their data centers and offices are, by far, their largest energy consumers.

        So the previous claim is false.

        Now for the new one, citation and reasoning please.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, I'm 100% renewable*

        *when using electricity at home.
        *renewable as in my electric supplier says they buy energy credits for my usage. Is it really difficult for a business to simply switch to the slightly higher electric plan to pay for credits? Why do they need roadmaps for that? Is business electric service that much different from residential service?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So what about say 5000 drivers commuting 2 hours each day with 100hp engines pushing ~75000 watts using gas...or 375 Megawatts total/hour...i wonder if this makes a difference to 100% renewable. Let's face it...this is pure PR spin...if you run it out and ask how much energy was used to make the aluminium cans that hold the sparkling water used on the Google campus then there would be that along with lots of other "non-renewables".

        • A 100 hp car isn't using 100 hp all the time. Driving at constant speed is only 10% oof that.

    • From the Report:

      "Most notably, in 2017 Google will reach 100 percent renewable energy for our global operations—including both our data c"enters and offices. That means that we will directly purchase enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity we consume, globally. This shift in our energy strategy didn’t just significantly reduce our environmental impact. By pioneering new energy purchasing models that others can follow, we’ve helped drive widescale global adoption of clean energy."

      A better headline would have been, "Google will Repurpose Enough Renewable Power To Cover 100% of Its Non-Renewable Usage", but just trying running that one past the PR guy.

      • From the Report:

        "Most notably, in 2017 Google will reach 100 percent renewable energy for our global operations—including both our data c"enters and offices. That means that we will directly purchase enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity we consume, globally. This shift in our energy strategy didn’t just significantly reduce our environmental impact. By pioneering new energy purchasing models that others can follow, we’ve helped drive widescale global adoption of clean energy."

        A better headline would have been, "Google will Repurpose Enough Renewable Power To Cover 100% of Its Non-Renewable Usage", but just trying running that one past the PR guy.

        How about: "Google Operations reaches 100% renewable energy usage through purchased offsets"

  • The EPA as well as other government agencies are gagged and can not point out health safety facts to anyone including the public. If a private company starts taking measurements and releasing the results I fear that the government will do them great harm. While California burns, Houston drowns and the virgin islands and Puerto Rico barely exist now the fact that global warming is creating these horrors is hardly mentioned. And in addition to big government squashing descent , we also have the oi
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2017 @12:53AM (#55354085)

      Unlike you I live in California and have studied our endless fire events.

      I will keep this VERY simple for you: California was designed by nature to regularly burn. It does not. Why? Because environmentalists prevent natural and human controlled sane things and instead inflicted truly nutso policies on the state.

      Cutting back overgrown forests? Forbidden.
      Clearing out the underbrush? Forbidden.
      Letting smaller naturally occurring fires clear out underbrush and dead trees? Forbidden. Small fires stomped put immediately.
      There are a few other similar policies created and enforced by moronic environmentalists whack jobs who don't want to understand the natural processes already in place by NATURE to prevent this huge fires but the above are the big ones.

      End result? A truly colossal amount of dry burnable fuel built up over several years waiting for the tiniest spark to set the whole fucking state on fire. Smaller fires that the trees would normally survive burn extra hot leading to larger trees making the fires grow even bigger instead of limiting them and so we get the huge conflagrations every few years inevitably followed up by the same ignorant environmentalist nut jobs saying it's all proof of global warming and we should all drive Priuses.

      This was the simple version for you. Idiot.

      I'm going to finish taping the windows to keep as much smoke as possible out before I go to bed and hope my friends who live even closer to your fire survive and their homes aren't ash in the morning.

      • Being in Washington, I can attest that what AC says here is true, despite being a dick about it. We have a bit of the same problem, but not quite as bad. We've some more reasonable people in charge (this is changing, we're going the way of California slowly); we still burn every year, and once in a while, we get quite large ones (like last year, 3 fires merged into one) we don't get them as large as California.

        Of course global warming plays a role in increasing forest fires, but it is far from the only rol

        • If you compare Ansel Adams photographs with how the places look now, they have become completely overgrown mostly due to fire suppression methods. These extra trees have a lot of down stream effects on the watershed.
    • >" The EPA as well as other government agencies are gagged and can not point out health safety facts to anyone including the public."

      Stop making it about the environment and it is STILL A WIN. Renewable energy is here to stay. And there are lots of reasons to use it that have nothing to do with feel-good environmentalism or greenhouse gas scariness.

      1) Energy independence. Perhaps the most important reason of all- it means less dependence on imports. And those imports are what fuel (pun intended) conf

  • by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @11:49PM (#55353945)
    Google did this by trading. They generate energy one place, use it in another.
    Nothing wrong with that, but they're still dependent on other sources.

    The fact that they generate as much as they used proves some pro fossil energy anal-cranial-submersion to the point of suffocation proponents need to move on.

    To site the chairman of CSX, ‘Fossil Fuels Are Dead’ : https://www.huffingtonpost.com... [huffingtonpost.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The fear used to be that we would run out of fossil fuels. The new fear is that fossil fuel reserves are indefatigable. There are vast untapped reserves and more being discovered. Hydraulic fracking has unlocked many reverse once though unusable and renewed those though depleted.
      The biggest risk to coal and gasoline is natural gas. There will come a time very soon when solar become ubiquitous but the question becomes one of energy storage and PV panel disposal and recycling. As long as gas is so cheap as to

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      The fact that they generate as much as they used proves some pro fossil energy anal-cranial-submersion to the point of suffocation proponents need to move on.

      So Google did not rely on fossil fueled base load capacity acting as a free infinite storage? Well, that is a relief.

    • Yup, it's a financial accounting trick. They're still as dependent on the grid as everyone else.

      Not saying it's a bad thing - it does feed strong preference for renewables into the energy market. But it's not nearly so impressive a feat as the title suggests.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Thursday October 12, 2017 @12:05AM (#55353985) Homepage Journal

    Just to clarify, while SF is pretty densely populated, it's barely 800,000 people, and average outside temperature is just 7 degrees below room temperature. Most often you need to open a window to keep your apartment or office building at room temperature. Given that heating and cooling make up the lion's share of most cities' power needs this makes SF a pretty easy target to hit. Cooking is another big consumer of electricity; something like 50%+ of homes and apartments are plumbed with natural gas for cooking. Only in the winter, and only on the coldest nights have I really ever needed to kick on the heat, and usually only for an hour or two because I left the windows open during the day.

    • Just to clarify, while SF is pretty densely populated, it's barely 800,000 people, and average outside temperature is just 7 degrees below room temperature.

      The average outside temperature in San Francisco is 57 degrees F. Do you really keep the rooms in your home at 64? I'll bet you don't.

      Most often you need to open a window to keep your apartment or office building at room temperature.

      "Room temperature" is actually a term defined by law as 68 degrees, three feet from the floor. Since the average tempe

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        My personal experience living there, specifically north beach, fidi, tendernob, soma, it's about 63F during the day, which is where the bulk of the city's population is; inside temps are about 72F which is a term defined by Hadlock's law (lol are you really researching the legal definition? Texans would call 76 room temperature - get real dude) as room temperature and also defined by the temp that I don't want to put socks on to keep my toes cold (srsly, lol dude).

        Good job on googling "facts" though

        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday October 12, 2017 @01:59AM (#55354177) Journal

          My personal experience living there

          You're bringing anecdotes to a data fight? You of all people should know better. The discussion was not about your "personal experience". It was about the average temperature in San Francisco. And we have that data right here:

          https://www.usclimatedata.com/... [usclimatedata.com]

          Texans would call 76 room temperature

          You know, you've come to the right place. Until moving to the California Central Coast five weeks ago, I lived in Houston, Texas. They do not call 76 room temperature there. Air conditioning in homes and offices is almost always set between 68 and 72. And yes, that's my "personal experience". People bring sweaters to work with them in Houston. Windows in new homes do not open.

          Good job on googling "facts" though, thanks for the laugh.

          Are you suggesting that usclimatedata has somehow been doctored just to make you look foolish? Why the scare quotes around "facts"? Do you believe it's fake news?

          .

          • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

            Welcome to california, fellow Texan, I'm 6th generation Texan; you should google "microclimates of san francisco" at some point, that may clarify somewhat why I am dismissing your average temperature statistic. When I was first dating in SF it wasn't uncommon to take an uber from one side of nob hill where it was sunny and 75 to north beach where it was 63 and raining with heavy fog. Unsurprisingly population tends to cluster around the more pleasant parts of the city.

    • Just to clarify, while SF is pretty densely populated, it's barely 800,000 people, and average outside temperature is just 7 degrees below room temperature.

      SF consumes only half as much electricity per household as the national average. This is another reason why the no-growth policies of the "progressives" are harmful. If more people could move to SF, and other locations with pleasant climates, carbon emissions could fall significantly. SF rejects more than 95% of application for residential building permits, and few people even bother to apply.

      • If more people could move to SF, and other locations with pleasant climates, carbon emissions could fall significantly.

        So go to fucking Texas. We don't want you in California. I've only been a resident of the State of California for five weeks, and already I don't want anyone else coming here.

        SF rejects more than 95% of application for residential building permits, and few people even bother to apply.

        You can get a permit right now in Houston and build whatever kind of monstrosity you want.

  • traded not created (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bigtreeman ( 565428 ) <coltree@tpg.com.au> on Thursday October 12, 2017 @12:37AM (#55354057)

    When Google has wind/solar on every installation, actually creating the vast amounts of electricity their servers, etc consume, then I'll applaud.
    Ahhh, got it, they have created virtual electricity. It's over in fucking Norway.
    And they really think paying a power company extra will get renewables built ?
    Nuuu, they will suck that up in profits, and crow about how good they are, just like Google is.

    My workshop is fully solar powered and returns extra power to the grid, real electricity powering real machinery, right there.

    • then I'll applaud.

      No you won't. People like you never applaud. You'll just find some other minutia to criticize.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      "If it's not perfect then fuck it, let's burn some coal."

    • Google's UK operations are pretty small potatoes, but here they can choose from a few electricity companies that only sell 'green' electricity. Ecotricity are the biggest such provider, although I've personally switched to Bulb as they're more or less the same, but cheaper. Ecotricity are both retail and wholesale, and their wholesale part only builds 'green' power stations, and are paid for by profits from the retail part. What they can't generate themselves, they buy from elsewhere, so long as it's 'green

  • So when we say that Google consumes as much energy as a major city, we are talking about a lot of energy. Presumably most of that is going to data centers. And much of that seems to be serving our search and other needs as well as supporting the company with advertising income. Yes, some of that prodigious capability is accumulating our individual online history and no doubt it is constantly being massaged, updated and 'improved' for the benefit of their paying customers. A great deal of energy, and enough

    • In fact, 100% of all energy used by anyone ends up as heat.
      All that solar and wind energy - it ends up being converted to heat. All of it.

      Okay, so if you use the energy to lift something up, it doesn't turn to heat until the thing comes back down.

      • by swell ( 195815 )

        "In fact, 100% of all energy used by anyone ends up as heat."
        Brilliant deduction!

        Not sure what this has to do with the environmental cost in heat of Google's activities. Perhaps you are just asserting that you passed high school physics.

        Another heat generator is bitcoin and similar schemes. How much heat is generated by a single bitcoin today ... and tomorrow? If energy were free and we could recklessly consume all we want, how would that effect the environment?

        When the Klingons come to get us, they will be

        • > Not sure what this has to do with the environmental cost in heat of Google's activities.

          Well if you're concerned about the environmental impact of generating heat (a reasonable concern), would it not be useful to be able to measure and compare the amount of heat generated? Rather than the obvious approach of measuring heat by temperature rise email etc, is it not simpler to remember that heat out = energy in?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No matter what I personally think of Google, this is something positive for the company to claim. However, in and around me there are a lot of people rejecting solar and wind energy programs. Kind of ironic though that technology is also requiring a lot of energy to run all those servers and PC's at Google.

  • No, it doesn't (Score:5, Informative)

    by olau ( 314197 ) on Thursday October 12, 2017 @05:32AM (#55354529) Homepage

    That means that all of the electricity the company consumes in both its data centers and offices are provided by wind and solar energy.

    It means that Google has purchased certificates and similar corresponding to their energy consumption. The data centers and offices are still running on power from coal and whatnot just like all their neighbours.

    Don't get me wrong, it's great that Google as a great resource hog is investing in renewables. But the above "explanation" is spreading misinformation. For the above to be true, Google would have to run everything in isolated as isolated islands. That would be a lot more expensive.

  • No. They're still getting power from other sources as well.

    They're simply paying an hefty offset to subsidize renewable sources.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Aren't accounting tricks wonderful?

    They also pay almost NO TAXES on what they show as ALMOST NO INCOME in the USA.

  • This sounds a lot like corporate speak. I am sure they really have stretched the definition of carbon neutral to nearly its breaking point. How can you tell a marketing professional is lying? Their lips are moving.
  • Google has announced that after 10 years a carbon-neutral company, it will be able to brag running on entirely renewable energy at the end of 2017.

    Why didn't Google wait until they actually were 100% powered by green energy? Now, after pre-announcing a future accomplishment, if/when it does happen it will not be as noteworthy. It's kind like when your friends tell you they are going to have a baby, and you congratulate them - only to find out all they meant was that she was going off contraceptives and they plan on having more purposeful sex in the immediate future...

The time spent on any item of the agenda [of a finance committee] will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved. -- C.N. Parkinson

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