Renewable energy

We're promoting cleaner energy for a better future.

Across Google, we're currently using renewable energy to power over 35% of our operations. We're committed to using renewable energy like wind and solar as much as possible. So why don't we build clean energy sources right on our data centers? Unfortunately, the places with the best renewable power potential are generally not the same places where a data center can most efficiently and reliably serve its users. While our data centers operate 24/7, most renewable energy sources don’t—yet.

So we need to plug in to the electricity grid, and the grid isn’t currently very green. That's why we're working to green the electricity supply as a whole—not just for us, but for everyone.

We've added renewable energy to our communities.

We’ve purchased renewable energy from wind farms, adding new clean power near our data centers and the communities around us. We found an opportunity in Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)—long-term contracts (typically 20 years) to buy clean energy from a particular producer.

When we enter into a PPA, we choose projects that add new renewable energy sources to the market. By providing developers with a solid commitment, we help them get the money they need to finance new clean energy facilities. In exchange, we get clean energy at competitive prices as well as the renewable energy certificates (RECs) to help reduce our carbon footprint. Together, we make the grid a little bit greener.

Here’s how a PPA works:

  1. We purchase energy from a renewable project developer.
  2. We then sell that energy right back into the grid at a wholesale price.
  3. We apply the RECs to the non-renewable or "brown" energy used at our data centers.

We've also partnered with a utility provider to increase the amount of renewable energy powering one of our data centers, and with other utility partners to develop more options for large customers in the state that want to buy renewable energy. Until renewable energy is readily and constantly available in the areas where we have data centers, we'll continue to find creative ways to supply our data centers with clean energy.

We're investing in a brighter future for the whole industry.

We’re going beyond investing in renewable energy for our own operations. We’re also investing in renewable energy projects to grow the industry as a whole. Specifically, we've made agreements to fund over $1.5 billion in renewable energy projects such as large-scale wind and rooftop solar. When added up, these projects represent a total capacity of over 2.5 GW, which is far more electricity than we use. To put this in context, this electricity is equivalent to that consumed by around 500,000 homes.

Google’s PPAs: What, How, and Why (PDF)

We purchase clean energy via power purchase agreements, or "PPAs," because they create new clean energy now as well as help the renewable energy industry grow in the long-term. Learn more about PPAs and why we think they are a valuable solution for purchasing renewable energy.

What others are saying

"Google announced that it is purchasing 48 megawatts of clean, renewable wind power for its data centre in Oklahoma, USA…Google’s announcement shows what the most forward-thinking, successful companies can accomplish when they are serious about powering their operations with clean energy."