Google wants to demonstrate that a carbon-free economy is entirely possible, and it's going to use its cloud business as an example.
Urs Hölzle, Google Cloud SVP for Technical Infrastructure, has announced a pledge to run the entirety of the company's operations on solar and wind energy by 2030.
“Today, we set our most ambitious energy goal yet: to run our business on carbon-free energy everywhere, at all times, by 2030,” he wrote.
“This means we’re aiming to always have our data centers supplied with carbon-free energy. We are the first cloud provider to make this commitment, and we intend to be the first to achieve it, too.”
“With the goal to reach 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030, we can demonstrate that a carbon-free economy is possible. Our data centers are large power consumers, and if we can achieve 24/7 carbon-free energy for our data center fleet, economically, we can demonstrate that carbon-free electricity grids are within reach.”
At the moment, Google Cloud partially runs on green energy. When it has excess of of renewable energy, it returns it to the grid and when it's lacking, the firm purchases power from the grid.
The energy purchased, Hölzle explained, does not always come from green sources - and this is what Google hopes to change within a decade.
The company has already made significant progress in this field, Hölzle claims, citing a recently announced system that shifts flexible computing tasks to time periods when power on the grid is cleanest.
In Nevada, meanwhile, Google has proposed one of the world’s largest solar-plus-storage projects. It's also using machine learning to optimize how wind farms deliver power.
“In the last decade, we've led the way in deploying renewable energy at scale—and, in the process, helped drive down costs for wind and solar. It’s time to do the same for next-generation technologies that will allow for a wholesale transition to 24/7 carbon-free energy,” Hölzle concluded.