Google announced Tuesday that it plans to rely entirely on renewable energy sources to power its 13 data centers and 150 global offices in 2017. Though Google will not solely use sources like wind and solar power, given that it receives power from a company operating a multi-source energy grid, its consumption of non-renewable energy will be offset entirely by its purchase of renewable energy.
The move is significant, as Google reportedly gobbled up "as much energy as the city of San Francisco" last year. Already, the company says it is the "largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world," sourcing 44 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2015. "For one company to be doing this is a very big deal. It means other companies of a similar scale will feel pressure to move," Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, told The New York Times.
Moreover, Google argues the environment isn't all that's benefiting from its green investment. "We are convinced this is good for business, this is not about greenwashing," Marc Oman, EU energy lead at Google, told The Guardian. "This is about locking in prices for us in the long term. Increasingly, renewable energy is the lowest cost option."