Running the Internet giant Google requires a lot of electricity. Industry experts claim its 13 data centers continuously draw 260 million watts. An estimated billion searches a day alone consume 12.5 million watts.
Offsetting this huge consumption, Google has cash reserves exceeding $50 billion and is investing heavily in renewable energy, adding to a billion-dollar portfolio of green power.
The company recently announced its 14th investment in renewable energy through a partnership with the investment firm KKR to build six utility-scale solar facilities in California and Arizona. Google will invest approximately $80 million in these projects, which are being developed by Recurrent Energy. The projects will have a combined capacity of 106 megawatts (MW) and generate enough electricity to power more than 17,000 U.S. homes.
In 2013, Google also made a $103 million commitment to Mount Signal Solar, a 265.7-MW solar photovoltaic plant in Imperial County, Calif., and made its first investment in Africa, $12 million in the Jasper Power Project, a 94-MW solar photovoltaic plant in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.
In 2012, Google made an equity investment of $75 million in a small wind farm in Iowa and $200 million in one in Texas.
In 2011, there was a host of green investments: $94 million in four solar facilities near Sacramento, Calif.; $75 million in a fund to help California homeowners go solar; $280 million to create a fund to help finance solar installations across the country; $168 million in a concentrated photovoltaic project in the Mojave Desert; $157 million in Alta Wind Center in the Tehachapi Mountains in Southern California; $100 million in the Shepherds Farm Wind Park in Arlington, Ore.; and $5 million in a photovoltaic plant in Germany.
In 2010, Google made a $38.8 million investment in two North Dakota wind farms and, showing “green diversity,’” bought a 37.5 percent equity stake in the Atlantic Wind Connection, an offshore grid project intended to support offshore wind turbines.
These investments are all part of Google’s strategy of building a clean- energy future where renewable energy is abundant, accessible and affordable.
Google claims its ownership in renewable power generation currently amounts to more than 2 gigawatts, the equivalent of the power output of the Hoover Dam. Furthermore, recent investments have pushed the company’s renewable power generation even higher.