To reduce the environmental impact of their IT operations, both Google and Microsoft have announced new arrangements to access renewable energy sources for their data centers.
According to The Register, Internet search giant Google said it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Engie, a French utility firm, to use 100MW of electricity from the Moray West offshore wind farm in Scotland to power its UK facilities.
Furthermore, Google has said that the new agreements will help the firm meet its objective of powering all of its UK operations, including data centers, with 100% sustainable power by 2030.
With the most recent PPA signed with Engie, it anticipates approaching 90% carbon neutral by 2025.
Google EMEA President Matt Brittin released a statement that acknowledged growing concerns about climate change and energy security among individuals in the UK and Europe.
“We share that concern and believe technology is an important part of the solution – both by reducing our own emissions, and by helping others to reduce theirs,” he said.
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At the same time, Microsoft reportedly announced its own PPAs in Ireland, covering more than 900MW of additional renewable energy generation to power its data centers in the country.
Microsoft did not reveal the suppliers for its renewable energy deals, although other sources have identified Norwegian energy giant Statkraft and Ireland’s Energia Group as being involved, with the energy coming from a combination of wind and solar installations.
According to Microsoft, its Irish data centers will be entirely powered by sustainable energy from new projects financed by PPAs like these by the year 2025.
Approximately 1% of the world’s total power consumption is used by data centers, based on studies conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The Register said that both firms had already agreed to increase their purchases of US renewable energy, so this decision makes perfect sense.
Microsoft recently signed a 20-year agreement with AES Corporation to provide green energy to its California data centers from a portfolio of 110MW solar and 55MW four-hour storage projects.
Meanwhile, Google inked a deal with SoftBank subsidiary SB Energy for 900MW of solar power for a data center in Texas.
Despite their admirable goals, these initiatives may not always be sufficient to compensate for the carbon emissions large corporations produce. These businesses are growing quicker than accumulating carbon credits or investing in renewable energy.
As an example, Microsoft acknowledged in its 2021 sustainability report that although reducing its own CO2 emissions by almost 17 percent year over year, the company’s carbon footprint had risen due to considerable expansion over the same time.
Microsoft claims it has increased its efforts to reduce carbon use and contribute to solutions for broader concerns related to climate change while expanding its data centers to satisfy customer demand.
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Written by Trisha Kae Andrada
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