Google Wants to Be 100% Carbon-Free by 2030. Here’s How.

Published: April 18, 2022
Updated: April 18, 2022
Google Wants to Be 100% Carbon-Free

Google Wants to Be 100% Carbon-Free by 2030

Google Wants to Be 100% Carbon-Free by 2030

Google aspires to build environmentally friendly and energy-efficient data centers. In 2007, the company achieved carbon neutrality.

Google places a premium on PUE and a clean global grid in order to achieve carbon-free status by 2030. Google’s data centers consume twice as much electricity as the city of San Francisco. Google’s energy consumption is increasing on a daily basis as its business and overall internet usage expand.

Since 2007, the company claims to have been carbon neutral, which means that it has purchased equal amounts of carbon offsets (via land restoration and tree planting) and used renewable energy to achieve zero net operating carbon emissions.

Following this, Google claims to have matched its total electricity usage with renewable energy purchases as of 2017. The company has announced significant steps to use carbon-free energy over the years, but it still operates with some power that emits carbon dioxide.

Google now intends to operate on carbon-free energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week by 2030. To put it simply, the company will run on carbon-free electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Doesn’t that sound stressful? Let us explain how.

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The most significant source of energy consumption is Google’s data centers. To be carbon-free by 2030, data centers must use clean energy sources and be ultra-efficient.

Google claims to be the world’s largest annual corporate purchaser of renewable energy. But you’re probably wondering why Google cares so much about energy. Every Google search you conduct consumes a negligible amount of energy, which is used by the servers at Google data centers. 

With millions of searches per minute and trillions per year, data centers consume a lot of energy. Having efficient data centers all over the world will allow Google to use 100% carbon-free energy.

Google prioritizes efficient data centers and power usage effectiveness (PUE), which is the ratio of energy used by a computer in a data center divided by the total energy used by computing equipment. 

For example, 1 PUE indicates that all of the energy is directed toward computing equipment, whereas 2 PUE indicates that if 1 unit of energy is directed toward computing equipment, another unit of energy will be directed toward cooling the equipment.

According to Maud Texier, Google’s head of energy development for data centers, “the company is using a combination of hardware and software developments to manage PUE.” 

We’ve spent money on new raw materials for servers that produce less heat.” In addition, DeepMind’s machine learning program is being used by the company. These machines forecast the most effective time to run heat pumps to cool data centers.

The most difficult challenge — is establishing a clean energy grid

Having an energy-efficient data center is not enough; Google also focuses on how the energy is produced. “If we have a clean grid,” Texier says, “being 100 percent carbon-free will be easy for the company.” 

If the grid isn’t clean in a location where the company wants to build a data center, there should be a way to make a difference and speed up the regional grid’s transition.” 

She also stated that in order to achieve sustainability, Google employs specific algorithms to determine where to establish or execute computing functions for their data centers.

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