Our biggest sustainability moonshot yet
In 2021 – for the fifth consecutive year – Google matched 100 percent of its annual electricity consumption with purchases of renewable energy, bringing more than 7 gigawatts of new renewable energy online. This achievement involves buying a surplus of renewable energy in regions where solar and wind power are abundant – like the US Midwest – to address the lack of renewable energy in other places – such as Taiwan. Similarly, in some cases we buy additional solar energy during the day to compensate for our use of carbon-intensive energy at night. Our large-scale procurement of renewables has been effective at helping drive down the price of clean energy, encouraging widespread corporate decarbonization goals, and accelerating renewable projects worldwide. But it still leaves places and times where our operations rely on fossil fuels.
That’s why we’re taking the next step to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy. We want to ensure that our electricity demand is met with carbon-free energy, every hour of every day, everywhere.
Reaching our goal won’t be easy, but climate change demands urgent action. By aiming for round-the-clock clean energy in all our data center operations and office campuses, our goal is to prove that a carbon-free economy is possible for all.
And we can’t do it alone. So in September 2021, Google partnered with Sustainable Energy for All and the United Nations to launch the new 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Compact – a set of principles and actions that stakeholders across the energy ecosystem can take to adopt, enable, and advance 24/7 CFE as a means to fully decarbonize electricity systems. The Compact already has growing support from stakeholders, including energy buyers and suppliers, governments, system operators, solutions providers, investors, and other organizations on a mission to transform global electricity grids to full decarbonization.
Google’s Environmental Report
To meet the challenges posed by climate change and the need for resource efficiency, we work to empower everyone — businesses, governments, non-profit organizations, communities, and individuals — to use Google technology to create a more sustainable world. Our annual report is a chance for us to reflect on what we’ve achieved, the lessons we’ve learned along the way, and the opportunities and challenges we see ahead.
The internet is 24/7 – carbon-free energy should be too
Sustainability has been a core value for us since Google was founded two decades ago. We were the first major company to become carbon neutral for our operations in 2007. We were the first major company to match our energy use with 100% renewable energy in 2017. We operate the cleanest global cloud in the industry. Over the past decade, Google purchased more renewable energy than any other company, based on our cumulative renewable electricity purchased in megawatt-hours from 2012 to 2021. In our third decade of climate action, we are going even further to help build a carbon-free future for everyone.