Google and Microsoft buy more energy to make their data centers greener

Alfonso Maruccia

Posts: 184   +91
Staff
The big picture: Google and Microsoft are two of the largest cloud-focused companies in the world, always competing to win more customers in the enterprise space. There's one thing, however, the two corporations agree on: the need to radically change the environmental impact their always-growing data centers are having on the world.

The road to a more environmentally sustainable cloud business is paved with new agreements to access renewable sources of clean energy. Both Google and Microsoft are indeed pretty busy purchasing new clean energy for their European operations, with the overall goal of becoming completely "carbon-free" in just a few years.

Google recently announced a new power purchase agreement (PPA) with Engie, a French-based utility company, to receive 100 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy coming from an offshore wind farm in Scotland. The new power will go to sustain Mountain View's UK operations, bringing the company closer to being a carbon-free organization – at least in Europe.

Google plans to use exclusively renewable energy sources for its UK office and cloud regions by 2030 and with the latest Engie PPA, the company expects to be at 90 percent carbon-free by 2025. According to Google EMEA President Matt Brittin, people across UK and Europe are becoming increasingly worried about climate change and energy sources.

Brittin said Google shares the same concerns, and believes technology will play an important role in solving the energy problem by reducing their own emissions and by helping others reduce theirs. Previously, Google made a deal with SoftBank/SB Energy to get 900MW of solar power for a date center in Texas.

Microsoft is equally aware of the environmental impact of its cloud data centers, and the company is likewise committed to improve the situation in Europe and elsewhere. The Redmond giant has announced a new PPA to provide 900MW of renewable energy to its Ireland data centers, bringing the overall (green) count of its European capacity to more than 10 gigawatts (GW).

Microsoft did not provide any information about the new energy suppliers in Ireland but according to other sources, the new deal involves Statkraft (Norway) and Energia Group (Ireland). The renewable energy comes from a mix of wind and solar plants, and Microsoft plans turn its Ireland data centers 100 percent carbon-free by 2025. Previously, Redmond signed a 20-year deal with AES Corporation to run its California-based data centers on renewable sources.

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psycros

Posts: 4,560   +6,867
Nuclear is still the least polluting energy source with hydro coming in second. Geothermal and hydro are also quite practical despite the high infrastucture costs, although hydro really messes up a river system and claims a lot of land. Solar is in its infancy and is probably decades from being competitive in the market. Wind? Yeah, that's exactly all it is - wind.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 847   +767
GigaWatts ?

MegaWatts ?

Shut down your DataCenters kids

My laptop runs at 20 watts

My desktop runs at 23 watts

By turning down the brightness on my 32" monitor, I can drop power consumption from 45 watts to 20 watts
(Eco Mode doesn't do a damn thing)
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 9,363   +8,581
In the right environment wind is a highly successful application, but those locations are few and far between. Nuclear can be successful AND at lower costs with the use of molten salt reactors and/or use of Thorium rather than Uranium. Solid test systems exist and run successfully but for some unexplained reason, have yet to be fully implemented and let's not forget that economical fusion reactors are less than a decade away ....

My biggest gripe here is that these guys are "buying" rather than building more green applications. That's simply a dodge of the responsibility to get things done; particularly when both companies have more than enough resources to do so ..... but they choose to take the easy way out just to get in a few more talking points .....
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 847   +767
let's not forget that economical fusion reactors are less than a decade away ....

I'll just forget you said that

We hear of miraculous battery and solar improvements every week (in the lab) yet have failed to materialize in the stores for decades

If they say fusion will be ready in 10 years, then it "may" be ready in 200 years
But I doubt it

Concentrate on what works, like runtime solar, wave power and geothermal
 

shark975

Posts: 107   +126
Hi alfonso.

Can you look at a graph of world CO2 emmissions by year for me?

I think you'll notice the graph only goes up. Another record last year.

Stop this nonsense pretending any of this baloney does anything but offshore emmissions to China at best. Or that climate change isn't a fraud.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,949   +6,951
I'll just forget you said that

We hear of miraculous battery and solar improvements every week (in the lab) yet have failed to materialize in the stores for decades

If they say fusion will be ready in 10 years, then it "may" be ready in 200 years
But I doubt it

Concentrate on what works, like runtime solar, wave power and geothermal
None of which will provide sufficient baseline power for a first or even second world quality of life.

Nuclear baby. It's what we got and what's e should focus on, if anyone actually cared.
 

Hodor

Posts: 418   +300
In the right environment wind is a highly successful application, but those locations are few and far between. Nuclear can be successful AND at lower costs with the use of molten salt reactors and/or use of Thorium rather than Uranium. Solid test systems exist and run successfully but for some unexplained reason, have yet to be fully implemented and let's not forget that economical fusion reactors are less than a decade away ....

I could give you a huge list of things that were "just a decade away" 50 years ago. From advanced medical treatments that worked perfectly in tests, but have completely disappeared from the focus (at least for general population) to various cheap energy sources.

Although to be honest, fusion reactors were always a bit longer in the future. They were "30 years away" about 35 years ago, they were "30 years away" about 20 years ago. And if you think they are now "10 years away" you're wrong. They are only talking about full size experiment. If you ask them "how long till the commercial use" the answer will be "20 years after the full size experiment". Which is.... yeah, 30 years from now.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,390   +1,036
Nuclear is still the least polluting energy source with hydro coming in second. Geothermal and hydro are also quite practical despite the high infrastucture costs, although hydro really messes up a river system and claims a lot of land. Solar is in its infancy and is probably decades from being competitive in the market. Wind? Yeah, that's exactly all it is - wind.


The problem with Nuclear - unless a extreme mini - Is an extreme huge carbon foot print upfront -a massive amount of concrete etc - we need solutions now to reverse CO2 - yes in long run less CO2 - but that is much later in life.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,363   +8,581
I could give you a huge list of things that were "just a decade away" 50 years ago. From advanced medical treatments that worked perfectly in tests, but have completely disappeared from the focus (at least for general population) to various cheap energy sources.

Although to be honest, fusion reactors were always a bit longer in the future. They were "30 years away" about 35 years ago, they were "30 years away" about 20 years ago. And if you think they are now "10 years away" you're wrong. They are only talking about full size experiment. If you ask them "how long till the commercial use" the answer will be "20 years after the full size experiment". Which is.... yeah, 30 years from now.
Obviously you are not affiliated with the nuclear industry and/or are not keep up with recent developments ..... pity to take up so much space and say so little ....
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,390   +1,036
Obviously you are not affiliated with the nuclear industry and/or are not keep up with recent developments ..... pity to take up so much space and say so little ....

Fusion is still 30 years ago - getting a positive energy back or running it for 5 seconds is great - but that is just a batch brew - we need to go lager - ie continuous process - so have feeding mechanism , self cleaning/repairing , etc . At all times being able to stop the process from fizzing out at super high speeds - we now have AI to help control it.
Probably in future downtime to uptime will become a big thing.
Plus even with break even at moment -it's not some highly controlled beast - huge output or none.

As for fission yes still lots of viable options - big , small - different starting elements and isotopes
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,558   +1,464
Fusion will have big announcements soon. The stellarator is making a comeback and is already producing amazing results. So much effort, time and money wasted on the tokamak design has set us back 20 years. We could see small scale 10-100MW stellarators within the decade.