Google has set its most ambitious energy goal yet: to run its business on carbon-free energy everywhere, at all times, by 2030. This means it is aiming to always have its data centres supplied with carbon-free energy.
IDC EMEA’s Technology for Sustainability and Social Impact Practice Lead, Marta Muñoz, notes, “Committing to ensuring carbon-free workloads across all regions is a significant step, enabling organisations all over the world in their own journeys to becoming sustainable businesses. In regions currently considering stricter regulations and looking to incentivise a path toward carbon neutrality, like Europe, Google’s approach should empower its customers to excel in the new green economy.”
With the goal to reach 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030, Google says it can demonstrate that a carbon-free economy is possible. The company’s data centres are large power consumers, and if it can achieve 24/7 carbon-free energy for its data centre fleet, economically, the company can demonstrate that carbon-free electricity grids are within reach.
The company says it has already made a lot of progress, and in the coming years it will double down on its efforts. For instance, it recently announced a system that can shift flexible computing tasks to times when power on the grid is cleanest, while in Nevada it has proposed one of the world’s largest solar-plus-storage projects. It is also using machine learning to optimise how wind farms deliver power.
Google is also developing tools to help customers measure the impact of migrating to Google Cloud, report on their emissions, and reduce them. It is also building the Industrial Adaptive Controls platform in collaboration with DeepMind, which provides AI control of cooling systems in commercial and industrial facilities. In the US alone, 12% of all electricity is used for heating and cooling of commercial buildings. Now, the same AI technology that helps reduce the energy use to cool the company’s data centres by 30% will be available to the world’s largest industrial enterprises, building management software providers, and data centre operators.