Google has been accelerating their efforts to protect the environment recently. In 2017, the company set out to completely offset their ordinary energy usage with purchased renewable energy provided by solar and wind plants.
According to a blog post written by Google's Senior VP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle, that goal has finally been achieved. "Google’s total purchase of energy from sources like wind and solar exceeded the amount of electricity used by our operations around the world, including offices and data centers," Hölzle writes.
In other words, Google has essentially become truly carbon neutral. They've done so by committing themselves to the purchase of one kilowatt-hour of renewable energy for every kilowatt-hour of energy they consume across the entire company.
...Google claims they are the "largest corporate purchaser" of clean, renewable energy in the world.
Indeed, Google claims they are the "largest corporate purchaser" of clean, renewable energy in the world. As of March 2018, the search giant accumulated over 3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy. For reference, 2nd place goes to Amazon with 1.2GW of renewable energy purchased so far.
If you're wondering why Google doesn't simply use renewable energy to begin with, the company has an answer for you.
"We say that we 'matched' our energy usage because it’s not yet possible to 'power' a company of our scale by 100 percent renewable energy," Hölzle explains in the blog post. "What’s important to us is that we are adding new clean energy sources to the electrical system, and that we’re buying that renewable energy in the same amount as what we’re consuming, globally and on an annual basis."
Hölzle did not specify where exactly their purchased energy gets used, however. In the blog post, he simply says Google adds their purchased renewable energy "to a power grid somewhere."