Google is aiming to run completely on alternative energy sources, its Energy and Sustainability head said Sunday. Already a third of the search engine giant’s operations rely on wind and solar energy.
Rick Needham, the director of Google’s Energy and Sustainability office, told CNBC that the company is investing in raising its 34 percent reusable energy use to a full 100. In the last quarter it spent $2.25 billion on data centers and general infrastructure—giving it an incentive to use clean energy to cut day-to-day operational costs.
"We've invested over a billion dollars in 15 projects that have the capacity to produce two gigawatts of power around the world, mostly in the US, but that's the equivalent of Hoover's Dam worth of power generation," Needham said.
Google just opened the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, a gigantic field of mirrors on the California-Nevada border southwest of Las Vegas that harnesses solar energy and reduces energy costs.
"The fact is that all of these things, procuring power for ourselves, investing in power plants, renewable power plants, they all make business sense, they make sense for us as a company to do. We rely on power for our business," Needham told CNBC.
Other Silicon Valley companies are investing in renewable energy sources, if not with as much enthusiasm as Google.
"Silicon Valley is leading the charge to be more efficient, to work on solutions to some of these problems. Google is ahead of the pack and we'll have to wait and see how it works out. They are certainly trying many different initiatives to figure out how best to manage their footprint in the environment, as well as how to manage the cost of all their energy," said Ben Schachter, senior Internet analyst at Macquarie Securities.
That means that your next Google search could be powered by the sun.