How has Google done so well? Certainly part of its success has come from its multi-billion dollar investments into clean energy projects. Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Energy and Sustainability sums up the investment decision quite well, “While fossil-based prices are on a cost curve that goes up, renewable prices are on this march downward.” Furthermore, it is only logical to invest in an accessible and limitless resource such as wind or solar, rather than investing in fossil fuels that are hard to extract and limited by definition. Hopefully Google will continue to act as a leader in the clean energy arena, just as it has in so many others.
Here are some of Google’s sustainability achievements
- An employee frustrated with his commute inspired Google to set up its own van pool. Now, 4,500 employees ride on the Google shuttle fleet. The custom-built coaches run on a biodiesel blend and come equipped with WiFi so employees can work during the commute. It has taken 3,000 cars off the road and reduces carbon emissions by 16,000 tons annually.
- The 240 EV chargers in the parking lots support a corporate EV fleet that has logged 500,000 miles.
- Google has procured 260MW of wind power. Some wind contracts will provide Google power at stable prices for up to 20 years.
- The company has also invested $1 billion directly into alternative power projects that will generate over 2GW of power, or twice as much power as Google used in 2011.
- Google’s data centers use half as much power as conventional ones. The company has saved over $1 billion in energy costs through data center initiatives.
We at Coalition for Green Capital hope to see more global corporations like Google investing in sustainability and renewable energy in the near future. With the development of green banks that make commercial-level loans for solar and wind installation, these investments will become easier, more reliable, and more cost-effective.
*Statistics and background information for this blog post can be found here.