Google Announces $2 Billion Investment In Solar And Wind Energy In Response To Climate Strike

Just a day before the world participated in a massive climate strike to pressure governments into taking action to save our planet, tech giant Google announced a multi-billion investment in solar and wind power, two key renewable energy sources we desperately need for a clean energy future.

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg inspired the worldwide strike, even participating in the United States, where even over 1,000 Amazon employees took part along with Google employees and those of several other companies.

These workers recognize that climate change threatens the entire globe and every living creature, including humans.

That’s why it’s important that the companies they work for take on the responsibility of taking action to fight back against it. And that’s what Google is doing after CEO Sundar Pichai announced a major investment on September 19th.

“Today we’re taking another big step by making the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history,” Pichai said in the statement. “This purchase is made up of a 1,600-megawatt (MW) package of agreements and includes 18 new energy deals. Together, these deals will increase our worldwide portfolio of wind and solar agreements by more than 40 percent, to 5,500 MW—equivalent to the capacity of a million solar rooftops. Once all these projects come online, our carbon-free energy portfolio will produce more electricity than places like Washington D.C. or entire countries like Lithuania or Uruguay use each year.”

And that’s a particularly big deal because even Internet usage leaves a carbon footprint.

Overall, the deals represent a $2 billion investment that will generate $7 billion of economic growth and create thousands of jobs, perhaps more.

“Our latest agreements will also spur the construction of more than $2 billion in new energy infrastructure, including millions of solar panels and hundreds of wind turbines spread across three continents,” Pichai stated. “In all, our renewable energy fleet now stands at 52 projects, driving more than $7 billion in new construction and thousands of related jobs.”

Those three continents are North America, South America and Europe, which must get further involved in leading the fight against climate change. In a way, Google is helping them lead.

These 18 new deals span the globe, and include investments in the U.S., Chile and Europe. In the U.S., we’ll purchase energy from 720 MW of solar farms in North Carolina (155 MW), South Carolina (75 MW), and Texas (490 MW)—more than doubling the capacity of our global solar portfolio to date. In South America, we’re adding 125 MW of renewable energy capacity to the grid that supplies our data center in Chile. Finally, almost half (793 MW) of the new renewable energy capacity purchased will be located in Europe, specifically Finland (255 MW), Sweden (286 MW), Belgium (92 MW), and Denmark (160 MW).

Google is also going beyond their own backyard, seeking to even make clean energy more affordable and accessible to small businesses.

Beyond our own operations, we’re working to make clean energy mainstream and break down the barriers for those who want to purchase renewable energy. Today we’re announcing two new grants from to provide further support for organizations that expand access to clean energy for all businesses—from flower shops to big-box retailers to startups.

“As you can see in our newly released 2019 Environmental Report, these are just a few of the ways we’re working to tackle climate change at a global scale,” Pichai concluded. “We’re also investing in AI and other technologies like Google Earth Engine to scale these efforts beyond our walls. Our goal is to make sure technology can benefit everyone—and the planet we call home. With today’s announcement, we’re one step closer to that goal.”

So, the climate strike had an effect before it even began. Hopefully, governments will soon follow suit. It’s either that, or we will have to put the pressure on corporations to throw their own weight against lawmakers to make them do the right thing.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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