Google has had an impressive record in renewable energy. They invested over $850m dollars
in renewable energy projects
to do with geothermal, solar and wind energy. They entered into 20 year power purchase agreements with wind farm producers guaranteeing to buy their energy at an agreed price for twenty years giving the wind farms an income stream with which to approach investors about further investment and giving Google certainty about the price of their energy for the next twenty years – a definite win-win.
Google also set up
RE < C – an ambitious research project looking at ways to make renewable energy cheaper than coal (unfortunately this project was shelved recently).
And Google set up a company called Google Energy to trade energy on the wholesale market. Google Energy buys renewable energy from renewable producers and when it has an excess over Google’s requirements, it sells this energy and gets Renewable Energy Certificates for it.
All hugely innovative stuff and all instituted under the stewardship of Google’s Green Energy Czar, Bill Weihl (on the right in the photo above).
However Bill, who left Google in November, is now set to start working for Facebook this coming January.
Facebook’s commitment to renewable energy has not been particularly inspiring to-date. They drew criticism for the placement of their Prineville data center because, although it is highly energy efficient, it sources its electricity from PacificCorp, a utility which mines 9.6 million tons of coal every year! Greenpeace mounted a highly visible campaign calling on Facebook to unfriend coal using Facebook’s own platform.
I gave a talk at the it@cork Green IT event yesterday entitled “Reducing your Costs and your Carbon Footprint”.
The talk goes into some detail on how Cork Internet eXchange, the cork-based data centre I am a director of, achieves hyper energy efficiency.
It is also worth noting that tomorrow’s OpenCoffee session is in CIX. Hope to see you there.
I am speaking at the it@cork Green IT breakfast event tomorrow morning (5th March ’08). My presentation is “Reducing your Costs and your Carbon Footprint – A Case Study” and I will be using CIX as a case study on how innovative thinking can lower your carbon footprint and your costs.
The event kicks off at 07:45 in the Cork International Hotel, at Cork Airport and the other speakers are James Governor of RedMonk, whose talk is titled “The Sustainability Imperative: Towards Greener Software” and Mike Hughes of Microsoft Ireland who is going to talk about Windows Vista energy conservation features.
Should be a good event (and you get breakfast!).