Four years after Google shifted entirely to renewable energy, the company has set out its next major sustainability goal. CEO Sundar Pichai said Google plans to run its data centers and offices entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030. Pichai called the effort a "moonshot," noting that the company will have to source carbon-free energy at all of its locations, which might not be easy for facilities in remote areas. Five data centers currently run at or close to 90 percent carbon-free energy, including the latest location in Denmark. Google built five solar farms to help run that data center, augmenting the abundant wind-based power on the Danish grid.
The second part declares that the state's policy is to work toward eliminating fossil fuels from the electric grid and all agencies should make decisions with that goal in mind. It is more of a goal than a mandate. Unlike the renewable portfolio standard, there are no fines or penalties for utilities. It also is less restrictive on technology, allowing any carbon-free resources to qualify including large hydroelectric dams and nuclear power.
Kelley said the 100 percent standard "sets the destination, but it does not dictate the specific road map for getting there." But he said utilities would need to prioritize clean energy over fossil fuels when setting long-range plans for replacing or creating new generating capacity. He said the proposal would also set higher energy efficiency goals for utilities, but provide them with incentives to develop innovative new programs to help customers switch to cleaner energy. It also calls for more help for low-income households to heat and cool their homes more efficiently.
The predominance of carbon-free energy at our Finland data center is partly due to Google's purchases of wind energy in the Nordic region. Indeed, our large-scale procurement of wind and solar power worldwide is a cornerstone of our sustainability efforts, and has made Google the world's largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. Last year we matched 100 percent of our annual electricity consumption with renewable energy purchases, and will continue to do so as we grow. In many cases, we've partnered with local utilities and governments to increase the supply of renewable energy in the regions where we operate. For example, near our data center in Lenoir, NC, we worked with our local electricity supplier to establish one of the first utility solar purchase programs in the U.S. Solar alone, however, is unable to provide electricity around the clock.
Google is sticking to its plan to have all of its products include recycled materials by 2022, this year designing its new Pixel and Nest products to incorporate the re-use of otherwise wasted resources. It is only part of the devices that are comprised of re-used materials, however. In the case of the Pixel, the back cover is made with 100% recycled aluminium. See also: Google Pixel 5 first impressions: Where was this phone last year? "This is our first phone to incorporate recycled aluminium, which not only eliminates the use of mined aluminium in the enclosure and reduces waste, it also lowers the carbon footprint of manufacturing the enclosure by 35% compared to using virgin aluminium," Google wrote in a blog post.