Google is officially 100% sun and wind powered – 3.0 gigawatts worth

Google is officially 100% sun and wind powered – 3.0 gigawatts worth

3.0 Gigawatts? Great Scott.

Great achievement - leading by doing.

"enough renewables to match 100% of the energy it takes to run our products in 2017"

Could that be only server farms etc and not all the offices and other infrastructure?

Also offsetting and replacing are a little different imo!

Still SUPER awesome but perhaps a little misleading article headline

By the way that's almost as much electricity my entire country of 180+ million people is able to generate.

Edit: Nigeria

Regardless of the 'purity test' some might apply to them, this is a pretty encouraging effort, particularly in comparison to the rest of the industry. Ultimately, I'm betting they realize that the cost of solar energy is going to continue to drop as more investments occur. Considering their massive electricity usage, they will gladly ride that gravy train as early as they can. All aboard!

It's amazing what technical innovations you can spend your money on when you don't worry about paying fuckin taxes...

Countries around 180-200 million population:




What country would that be?

It's Nigeria, checked his comments history.

Hmm, slightly less than the Bitcoin network uses:

24h * 3GW would be 72GWh per day.

Google (and many other internationally operating businesses) are/have been doing the Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich:

Make money in a country. Pay licensing fees to a subsidary in Ireland, deduct from taxes as business expense. Irish subsidiary pays royalties to a company in the Netherlands, deducts from taxes as business expense. Dutch subsidiary transfers money to another Irish subsidiary. Irish subsidiary #2 is controlled from outside (Bermuda, US, ...) and thus doesn't have to pay taxes in Ireland.

Businesses running this scheme have to shut it down until 2020. Until then, they have time to find new loopholes in the various national laws.

I’m ok with companies taking a massive tax break (for a given year) if they switch their power to renewables.

Edit: look people, the government already offers all sorts of absurd subsidies and tax credits. I’m merely saying I support one that actually benefits every citizen (and the entire planet). I would/do already support it for individuals/households.

It's not even Google's fault. Google didn't write the article, it's the headline that is misleading. Most people would assume all Google offices and servers are powered by wind and solar (which is not the case) based on the headline.

I keep seeing this article pop up, but it's just wishful thinking. Let me explain. Unless Google buildings completely remove themselves from the power grid, then they still receive power from whatever mix of energy sources the grid sees fit to employ. Google is not, and cannot be powered from 100% renewables unless they completely remove themselves from the grid. This is just a business ploy to get you to feel good about them.

What has happened is this: Google has purchased certificates which are used to develop renewable energy sources. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less. You could do the same for your home, if you had lots of money. But at the end of the day, no one controls where their power comes from unless they detach themselves from the grid.

I am not anti-renewable energy by any means. I work in the power industry, and see the many benefits of renewable power. I am, however, anti-fake news, and/or news manipulation. This is exactly what this is, and the sites running this story should check into the real story.

As much as I would like to cheer for Google, this is bullshit.

3 GW is installed maximum power and not energy. If they really wanted to make a statement about energy, they would have to add up all their energy consumed over a year and then compare it to the electricity generated by their windparks. And only if this generation would exceed the consumption, then they could call themselves "100 % renewable".

Right now they just compare maximum power output to maximum power consumption (of what, exactly? definitely not their server farms), which says pretty much nothing.

Man, fuck Bitcoin. 72 GWh per day, but barely able to process 7 transactions per second.

Problem ist that 1) it won't be just a year and 2) they won't do it anyway (see the taxbreaks for twlcos to lay fiber, they didn't do jack shit)

Yeah but they didnt just buy this all last week

Incredible. I have to wonder the cost to achieve this. Cost is ultimately what will drive a tipping point for an energy source.

Edit: 3.5 Billion. Great Scott!

Really puts things in perspective

It's not a rumor. It's fact.

Like how the EU is currently suing Apple for billions because they believe that Ireland gave Apple unfair treatment.

Yep. Anyone working at Tech Ops at google knows that a bunch of our data centers are using diesel backup generators and coal electricity.

Its cool though, in the future the article will be close enough to the truth!

I worked for a Data Center provider (server farm) in a facility in the southeast and Google was one of our anchor tenants. Our power was directly sourced from a local utilities provider (generated by coal, mostly) and backed up by diesel generators.

So, yeah, I guess they generate enough in renewables to compensate for their non-renewable energy use.

But not commas

Running the actual thing on 100% renewables is impossible anyway, but producing the equivalent of what you use is pretty darn good.

What does that mean ?

Yeah that really is ridiculous! Bitcoin is pretty neat, but the entirety of Google produces so much more value than a virtual currency does.

Correct. These days we're just slightly above 4 GW, it's really fucked up.

Edit: Many parts of the country barely have more than a couple hours of government provided electricity, and get by spending a lot on generators and inverters, which is only feasible for the rich because the smallest possible generator you can get here costs 70% of the minimum monthly wage, and a gallon of petrol costs nearly 3% of the minimum wage, so owning a generator set is impossible for many people

Here's a guy

True, but there's a more important side effect. By stepping in and buying huge chunks of renewable capacity, it makes project planners long term investment decisions a lot less uncertain.

This in turn helps encourage more production of more wind turbines, and since turbines are a manufactured product they decrease in cost as the supply goes up (the so called learning curve). Fuels roughly get more expensive as the easier tapped sources dry up.

who's been involved in renewables a long time. He explains it better than I can. The whole documentary is worth watching btw.

they did, the article is at fault here.

"In 2015, we consumed 5.7 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity across all of our operations, which is nearly as much electricity as San Francisco used in the same year"

so yes, 3GW is a tiny amount of power which makes the article confusing.

with regard to quoting renewables it's the energy potential of that generation in the hour, so a 1 megawatt wind turbine will make 1 megawatt hour in 1 hour.

It can't quoted per hour/day/week etc as how much the wind will blow is interminable, you can only add it up an the end.

the 3GW is 3 gigawatt's per hour, 3GW x 24 x 364 = 26 TWh, but that's only a potential, the actual production is far less.

I actually looked it up better and apparently in 2015 they had an installed capacity of 12 GW but only had an actual capacity of 3,9 GW because of infrastructure and fuel problems. Didn't look up newer numbers.

So many new schemes they can choose from though. And more than enough time.

For perspective, the average American person uses 30 KWh of electricity per day. So the Bitcoin network uses as much power as 2 million Americans.

But with the certificates, the mix is made that much cleaner, no? It's not exactly accurate if you're going to be pedantic, but the effect is pretty much the same. They use 3 GW, they arrange for the production of 3 GW of renewable energy.

They explain it here, there is also a link to a PDF document that goes more indepth in the matter. According to that, data centers are included in the calculations.

They don't go off the grid, for reasons they explain, but rather give the grid what they take out, and approximate the carbon emissions saved equal the carbon emissions emitted from the energy they use.

That is just how purchasing renewables work, you use grid energy, then purchase the rights to say you used a particular renewable element going into the mix. Other than going off grid and self generating (which would be wildly impractical), there is no other way to do it.)

Didn't wind and solar recently become cheaper than other power sources?

Because fresh , clean , air is over rated.

Production, or consumption? They could be a net importer.

Well a lot of companies claim to run on 100% renewables just because they have a contract with a power company that states that the power company is only supplying power that comes from renewables. Through a lot of shady market dealings in power sales (yes this is a thing) it might seem to be the case but often isn't.

Not saying that this is the case here but I get why a lot of people don't feel like these claims are truthful (because they often aren't).

It's just like the resale of diamonds that you can't keep track off so you never know if it's factory made or mined in the western world or a blood diamond. It's just not possible through all the sales and resales and stuff like that.

virtual currency, processing on a blockchain, can absolutely process faster transactions than bitcoin. bitcoin is extremely inefficient.

Although Google may have entered into an agreement with sun and wind powered generators, the policy of offsetting energy production, whilst laudable, does not justify any proposition of Google being "100% sun and wind powered".

The tax breaks should be incentive based AFTER they make the proposed fixes and changes

The one that has 180 million people.

this comment made me think just how powerful these companies are these days. They have energy demands that rival countries, and have more cash than many countries, and are able to manipulate governments around the world.

scary stuff...but also great that they are using renewable energy...complicated world we live in.

Read the article. Google announced it on twitter and literally says "We are 100% renewable powered in 2017". So yeah, it kinda is their fault for the misleading title. But what they did is still a good thing.

Sweet, maybe with the money they’ll save they can pay their taxes

If the laws allow them to I don't blame them for taking advantage of it.

Until then, they have time to find new loopholes in the various national laws.

Or to create some.

In engineering different prefixes refer to the multiplication of the value. For example, deca is 101 kilo is 103 (1 kilowatt is 1000 watts) giga is 109, or 100,000 kW.

Or you could be making a back to the Future reference and now I look like a nerd

That percentage is a few years old. Electricity from coal was down to 30% as of last year. Natural gas has taken the lead for now.

How dare they steal all that sun light and waste all that wind!

I assumed, incorrectly, that they were buying their own infrastructure to generate all of the power they required and colocated it with their facilities.

Obviously, I was wrong. I wonder if there are any large companies that realistically have this as a plan because, upon reflecting on it, I'm guessing it's less efficient than just buying power from large scale providers.

What the hell is a gigawatt?!?!?

TIL - Google can power just over 2 flying Deloreans

How is that calculated? I have a family of 4, with wife and kids who are home all day with 24/7 heating / cooling, three square meals cooked per day with electricity, and I average 15-20 kWh / day? All I can think of is that this 30 kWh / day is inclusive of the energy inputs to things that find their way into our lives, but whose energy is consumed before they find the end user. Ex: my oatmeal uses 0.25kWh of energy to cook, but the energy to grow / process / ship said oatmeal before getting to me took some 1-2 kWh of energy to actually produce.

Wait...give me 5 minutes, I'll write a white paper. DiamondCoin (DMC) 350 million USD ICO incoming.


It's all ofsets and other scams.

Gigawatt? Gigawho?

Controversial thought: At least in the case of America, we spend a lot of money on crappy things (war / occupation / “peacekeeping”efforts). If Google is able to “dodge” taxes (which we know is in fact legal, but like you explain crafty in nature), and spend said moneys on actual things that make our world better (renewable energy), then shouldn’t we be supporting these efforts? Really, if you boil down capitalism, which America basically believes in to the level of being a religion, Google is performing in a very efficient manner.

You look like a nerd either way with that second statement.

I too would like to replace my tax bill with my power bill. Please subscribe me to your newsletter.

Which country? A typical nuclear power plant has a capacity of around 3 GW.

You're missing the entire point. Certificates are only generated with renewable energy. That means the purchase of these drives demand up and further justifies other energy producers to go renewable. You can't pretend that driving up certificate prices has no effect on the market.

"What is an average?"

- this guy

Actually, have until 2020 to shut it down, but I think that's what you meant.

This! Who would voluntarily pay more taxes?

Y'all are never happy are you

72GWh is Google, bitcoin uses 83 according to that site.

This is the correct response. Does anyone actually think Google's SF office has cut the power lines and run an extension cord to a wind farm somewhere? Of fucking course not.

While what you’re saying is accurate, I don’t think there is a big need to make the distinction you’re pointing out. Obviously google can’t only be powered by renewables since it isn’t building gen tie lines from these plants to its campuses or servers. However it seems like google is purchasing PPAs from generation utilities, which is about as close as you can get without gen tie lines to being powered by a given resource.

Saying that google receives energy from whatever mix the grid sees fit to employ is a disingenuous criticism. Solar and wind sit at the bottom of the supply stack when available, since they have zero dispatch cost. The real concerns are going to be hours with low or no energy production and hours with curtailments. While these are valid concerns, they shouldn’t temper people’s excitement about this news.

We're not talking about the US. We're talking about the highly publicised story of Google's tax avoidance schemes in Europe.

For example, it's estimated that they've paid just 3% on profits made within the UK.

I think google will do better things with that money than the current administration tbh.

All aboard the ETH train

Definetly making a BTTF reference

They're offsetting their electrical use with 3GW of wind and solar. They're still using energy off the grid which is provided by coal, natural gas, etc. All they did was invest in some wind and solar companies in locations where there is enough wind for wind power and enough sun for solar power.

This reminds me of rich people agreeing to plant so many trees for each X miles they fly their private jets to off set their pollution.

The population of my country is ~100,000. I said it was small :)

Rofl. They must realize that Ireland is giving a shit ton of companies in Dublin the same tax treatment. It's a huge reason why Ireland has been getting so much business in the last 10 years.

I find the fact that it took three people to get such a simple sentence right disturbing.

Surely if you pay a renewable energy producer to create an equal amount of energy for the grid that you use, then you're cancelling out your non-renewable energy usage? If everyone did that, non-renewable energy producers would be out of business. Are they doing something different?

Through a lot of shady market dealings in power sales (yes this is a thing)

Just ask Enron

1000 MW which are 1,000,000 Watts earch. So, a GW is 1,000,000,000 Watts.

Thermal. 1 Gw generation.

This is semantics... It's like saying you only peed in the corner of the pool. Google is paying to have an equivalent 3GW of renewable energy added to the grid(s) that they draw 3GW from. You're technically correct that some of the energy they receive is generated by fossil fuels, but only because they draw from the pool they they peed in. If everyone did what Google has done, the entire grid would be renewable. They have done their part, and only because other people have not do they still receive non-renewable energy. Further, this is the best way to switch to renewables because when you're not using the power you're generating, someone else does, so you can maximize the generating capacity of your equipment.

All of it gets fed into the power grid from mixed power sources. Notice the article said that Google officially "offsets" all of its power usage.

Bitcoins energy consumption make me think we need EcoCoin (or rather, something secure and more energy-efficient than proof of work)

Sorry to break the circle jerk. Alphabet paid $4,670,000,000 in taxes last year, mostly to the US.

In 60 countries, yes. In the US it is still coal. The US still gets 50% from coal.

It's their money, they can spend it however they like. But I will submit that spending this money was probably more about company image as a clean energy user than about the energy itself.

I'm not technical, so thank you for that perspective!

Jesus Christ, that's amazing...

I'm sure this is just more conveniently convoluted and creative math olympics, like when a company boasts about carbon footprints and other stuff that sounds good in a PR release just as the Dow Jones breaks into new 24,000+ point territory...

because of lobbyism and a population with the education-standards of, at best, the late 1970s.

Aaand that's why PoS > PoW

I hope people start comparing eth to btc

population with the education-standards of, at best, the late 1970s

Hyperbole, the post.

Germany, the leading solar power generator IIRC, also gets close to 50% of their electricity from coal burning.

Bangladesh? Or maybe Nigeria. Dunno of many other countries with that population size (apart from Russia, but I would assume they generate more power than that)

Wouldn't the station in this analogy be forced to give the premium gas to someone else when they have it though, even if it's not you? So you didn't really pay for the premium gas for you but the certificate ensures that the gas station has to produce the gas on their end eventually?

What? Money and connections allow them to do it. Blue collar Joe Schmoe in Atlanta can't open an Irish account and withhold taxes. Hope you don't whine about any of Trump's privilege

You make it sound causal, but it's just 1 example of the many companies that avoid taxes at all costs.

Yes, if you have loads of money, then you can do the fuck you want, for instance help the planet and be nice. But I guess there are many companies with the same tax evasion scheme, that don't do shit besides getting just richer.

Also, don't forget that taxes fuel good things (in the ideal, obviously there is a loss), so it is not like it gets just wasted into nothing.

It's a business fraught with fradulent schemes. Think about it. There is not enought land on the planet to plants trees that will capture the amount of co2 we're talking about. That and all the scams that have been documented like how palm plantations in Indonesia have a very bad environmental impact on surrounding areas, not calculated in when the offsets are sold. And more seriously there is no organization or framework to assure that the offset programs do anything at all. It's a free for all where nice looking pamphlets sells, without any quality control.

Google have many buildings using staggering amounts of fossile fuels to power their electricity needs, and could not operate without them. A cap on carbon would be a death blow for them so cap and trade was born.

General rule is this. Cap only if you want to reduce carbon emissions. Cap and trade if you don't want to cut emissions and even make some money.

Carbon offsets is the indulgences of the modern age, and as useless, if not even damaging to the environment.