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Google to power all its facilities with carbon-free energy by 2030

Image credit: pa

Google has announced that it aims to power all its data centres and offices with carbon-free energy by 2030, matching pledges by rival Apple earlier in the year.

In a blog post, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote that the firm has always valued sustainability and said the world “must act now” to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

It previously announced that from this year, all shipments to customers will be carbon-neutral and has matched all of its energy usage with renewables.

Its latest commitment sees the firm attempting to wipe out all its operational emissions from before it became carbon-neutral in 2007 through the purchase of “high-quality carbon offsets”.

Pichai said the development effectively means the company has zero carbon footprint since its founding in 1998.

Committing to run its facilities on carbon-free energy is also “far more challenging” than simply matching its power usage with equivalent purchases of renewables as it has done in the past.

“Since 2017 we’ve been matching all of our annual electricity consumption with 100 per cent renewable energy. Now we’re going even further: by 2030 Google is aiming to run our business on carbon-free energy everywhere, at all times,” Pichai said.

“This is our biggest sustainability moonshot yet, with enormous practical and technical complexity. We are the first major company that’s set out to do this, and we aim to be the first to achieve it.

“We’ll start by working towards 24/7 carbon-free energy at all of our data centres and campuses around the world.

“Our data centres power the products and services you’ve come to rely on every day. This will mean every email you send through Gmail, every question you ask Google Search, every YouTube video you watch, and every route you take using Google Maps, is supplied by clean energy every hour of every day.”

Apple made a similar pledge to become fully carbon-neutral by 2030 back in July, although it did not make the specific claim to actively run all of its operations on carbon-free energy.

Wind, solar and other renewable sources accounted for 61 per cent of Google's global hourly electricity usage last year. The proportion varied by facility, with carbon-free sources fulfilling 96 per cent of hourly power needs at Google's wind-swept Oklahoma data centre compared with 3 per cent at its gas-reliant Singapore operation.

Pichai declined to state the cost of its plans although he did say the efforts will help to create 12,000 jobs by 2025.

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