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Rakesh  Sharma's picture
Journalist Freelance Journalist

I am a New York-based freelance journalist interested in energy markets. I write about energy policy, trading markets, and energy management topics. You can see more of my writing...

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  • Jul 9, 2021
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Here's an interesting piece about Google's efforts to decarbonize its operations by 2030. The tech behemoth is investing in infrastructure at utilities to ensure that it is not forced to use fossil fuels when renewable energy is not present.

From the post: Google has tapped AES to assemble 500 MW of renewable energy generation, which will be complemented by battery storage. Google has less than 200 MW of IT load in Virginia today, according to estimates from 451 Research. During periods of nongeneration, the idea is that the stored energy from the renewable sources can be pushed out on the grid, thereby continuing to offset Google's demand on an hourly basis. Despite the $600 million expected investment, the deal is anticipated to only cover 90% of Google's demand on an hourly basis, underscoring the challenge — and expense — of decarbonizing loads that reside in grids heavily powered heavily by fossil fuels.

The idea of providing custom solutions to large industrial customers is not new, of course. The post refers to such tech companies as hyperscalers. What's interesting might be the number of such tech customers, who have the most aggressive timelines to decarbonize their operations and the influence they might have on operations and bottom lines at partnering utilities in the future. Or, should the tech companies become utilities themselves?    

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 10, 2021

Google will "decarbonize its operations by 2030"? In April the company took credit for four consecutive years of 100% renewable energy:

"Achieving 100 percent renewable energy year after year is no easy feat, because the amount of computing done in Google data centers continues to grow."

So full of $hit they can't even keep their lies straight.

Rakesh  Sharma's picture
Rakesh Sharma on Jul 22, 2021

I think you might want to check the fine print. "We’re proud to announce that in 2020 Google again matched 100 percent of its global electricity use with purchases of renewable energy." They matched their global electricity use with purchases of renewable energy.  

Google (and other tech companies) often use renewable energy credits to make claims of being carbon-free. The difference (at least that's my understanding anyway) in this case is that they are letting go of credits to bolster their claims and aiming to go directly to the source i.e., purchasing actual renewable energy to power their operations.   

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 22, 2021

I saw the fine print - they admit their headline is a lie. So what?

Here's the truth, Rakesh: Google never achieved 100% renewable energy - not for four years, not for one hour, not for one second. Like other tech companies, they're playing shell games to grossly overstate their contribution to the fight against climate change. And by taking their lies at face value we're not only losing the battle, we're losing the war.

 

Rakesh  Sharma's picture
Rakesh Sharma on Jul 24, 2021

lol. 

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