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Google is funding green energy in Asia because it wants to be big in green energy and Asia

If Google wants to keep its word (and go to China), it has to buy green energy for Asia.

Bryn Lennon | Getty Images

Google has pledged that all the energy its gargantuan data centers consume will come from renewable sources. It has put money behind that, making the largest green energy purchase (for a non-utility company) ever back in December.

Google also wants to be in Asia. Trouble is, it’s hard to buy green energy there. The system for getting proper credentials for renewable energy sources is virtually nonexistent on the continent.

So Google is aiming to nudge that along. Today the company said it was putting in seed funding for the Center for Resource Solutions, a nonprofit, to create standards across Asia for green energy. It’s noteworthy not just because of the good corporate citizen gesture, which every tech company is committing to now (after some arm-wringing). For Google, it’s another indication that company is kicking around ways to get its foot into the energy sector.

Google won’t say how much it’s investing, but here’s its explanation for why:

These kinds of programs are key in helping companies like Google actually know that the power we are buying comes from a renewable source. They work by “tagging” each MWh of energy generated from a source like wind or solar as renewable, which creates a renewable energy certificate (“REC”). This is especially important to us in Taiwan, where we are actively looking to purchase renewable energy for our data center.

There are a few nebulous energy projects percolating within its parent Alphabet — including a wind energy moonshot, solar partnership stuff and wind investments in Africa — but this initiative is coming from Google proper. One of the most expensive investments for Google proper is still its data centers.

The new program is starting in Taiwan, where Google has a data center. But Google hopes it can expand soon, so that it can keep its procurement promise while it expands across Asia. Where in Asia? How about China, where it very likely wants to be soon as well.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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