Google runs some of the world’s largest data centers which implies a lot of energy consumption, and that doesn’t come cheap. But the costs are not just monetary either, with Google focusing heavily on their carbon footprint in recent years. The company has released their annual environmental report which, among other things, outlines their goal of achieving 100% renewable energy for their data centers and operations by the end of 2017.
For the past 10 years, Google has been a carbon-neutral company. To achieve this goal, they have also become the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. Their current renewable capacity is 2.6GW with 598MW of that being added in 2016 alone.
This doesn’t mean that Google cleanly generates all of the energy it uses though. In 2016, their deals produced enough energy to cover about 57% of their global operations. This year they will continue to draw power from the grid, but will purchase additional wind and solar energy to offset the energy difference.
The report also lists some places where Google has room for improvement. There has been some continuing controversy over where and how Google draws the water it uses to cool its data centers. Google failed to meet its goal of ISO 500001 certification for all of its data centers. They also set a goal of reducing employee generated waste at their Bay Area office by 10% from the previous year but only achieved a 2% drop.