Google claims it will run its entire company on renewable energy in 2017.
The tech behemoth employs more than 60,000 people and is already the world's largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, with 44 percent of its power coming from solar and wind farms, according to The Guardian.
“We are convinced this is good for business, this is not about greenwashing. This is about locking in prices for us in the long term. Increasingly, renewable energy is the lowest cost option,” said Marc Oman, EU energy lead at Google. “Our founders are convinced climate change is a real, immediate threat, so we have to do our part.”
Oman said that Google is looking to increase their use of solar and wind energy, in part, because the price has been falling. But the company is also looking to sign a 10-year agreement for low-carbon power that is not intermittent, such as hydro, biomass and nuclear.
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“We want to do contracts with forms of renewable power that are more baseload-like, so low-impact hydro; it could be biomass if the fuel source is sustainable, it could be nuclear, God forbid, we’re not averse,” Oman told the Guardian. We’re looking at all forms of low-carbon generation.”
But not everyone is impressed with Google's pledge to go greener.
Critics, supported by funds from the fossil fuel industry, say that Google is still dependent on non-renewable energy sources because solar and wind are indeed intermittent and Google is a business that never takes a break, due to the nature of its constantly in-demand tech properties like YouTube and the Google search engine.
“In my mind it’s a P.R. gimmick,” said Chris Warren, vice president of communications at the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank in Washington supported largely by donations from individuals and companies in the fossil fuel industry, reported The New York Times. “If they think they can actually support themselves with wind and solar panels, they should connect them directly to their data centers.”