Data centres are the engines of the internet. They are the places where the network of servers and fibre-optic cables are housed to provide the vast online services of Google. But they fret energy and until now this energy is mainly provided by nuclear and coal power. Around 35% of their data centres are powered by renewable sources, but Google aims for a 100% renewable operation in the future. Although the company didn’t give an end-date for this transition, they clearly want to compete with Apple, whose data centres are already 100% running on renewables since 2012 and is the company is now looking to improve the footprint of their production processes.
Google made a big move recently by buying an old coal-fired power plant in Alabama that will be turned it into a 100% renewably powered data centre. Patrick Gammons, a senior manager of Google’s Data Center Energy and Location Strategy, explained the decision on his blog. “Decades of investment shouldn’t go to waste just because a site has closed; we can repurpose existing electric and other infrastructure to make sure our data centers are reliably serving our users around the world.”