Earlier this year, we hosted an event in Brussels that brought business leaders, policy makers and civil society together to discuss ways to ensure EU renewable energy policy meets the changing needs of consumers. Last week, we were back in Brussels to continue the discussion at RE-Source, the largest gathering in the EU to-date of companies committed to buying renewable energy to cover their operations.
With 14 data centers on four continents and offices in 150 cities around the globe, Google consumes a lot of power. And combating climate change requires the world to transition to a clean energy economy. So we’ve made it a top priority not only to become more energy efficient but also to ensure that the energy we purchase comes from clean sources such as renewables. We have also found that purchasing energy from renewable resources also makes good business sense, for two key reasons:
- The cost to produce and deploy renewable energy technologies like wind and solar has come down precipitously in recent years. In fact, in a growing number of areas, renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy available on the grid.
- For those of us who manage a global power portfolio like many corporations, renewable energy contracts provide financial certainty and protection against fuel-price volatility.
Google is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world. To date, we’ve signed contracts to purchase 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy. In the EU alone, we have signed 669 MW of deals across 8 projects in Sweden, Norway, and The Netherlands and we are on track to reach 100% renewable energy for our operations in 2017—a major milestone. You can read more about our global sustainability efforts in the 2017 progress update of Google’s Environmental Report.
Despite this progress, many barriers to purchasing renewable energy still exist. The challenge ahead is to drive even more renewable purchasing and grow the size of the market. The EU is currently considering a series of directives on clean energy that provide opportunity to remove many of these barriers. We look forward to working with EU policymakers and other stakeholders to ensure these efforts maximize the opportunity to scale renewables across Europe. For us, reaching 100% renewable energy purchasing on a global and annual basis is an important milestone but we’re just getting started. We want to help ensure that all energy consumers have a clear and easy path to choosing renewable sources.