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After Gates, Google Splurges on Green With Largest Renewable Energy Buy for Server Farms

The biggest clean energy purchase from a non-utility company, says Google.

Ethan Miller | Google

With a big splash on Sunday, Bill Gates unfurled a new investment fund for clean energy projects along with a who’s who of tech CEOs. Absent from the list was anyone from Google (or its parent, Alphabet).

But that’s no sign it’s slouching on the matter, Google will have you know. On Thursday morning, the search giant announced its largest ever purchase of renewable energy to power its massive data centers. Google claims it’s the biggest such purchase from a non-utility company to date.

The buy marks another step in Google’s bid to green its entire procurement process. Also and critically: It’s another indication of the company’s deepening ties with the energy industry — an industry that Google, through its investments and moonshots and yet unveiled ambitions, is plodding into.

Google’s server farms are spread across 14 “campus” locations on four different continents. All our searches and YouTube loops demand a considerable energy footprint. Before Thursday’s purchase, for 842 megawatts of green power, Google says it was 37 percent of the way toward its stated goal of 100 percent renewable energy reliance by 2025.

Fellow tech giants Apple, Amazon and Facebook have all made similar commitments to full clean energy with their data centers (after some prodding from environmental groups).

Here’s a visualization of Google’s purchase, which includes deals with a wind farm in Sweden and solar plant in Chile. The deal with Duke Energy, a North Carolina company, was signed last month.

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