Google Just Bought Enough Wind Power to Offset 100% of Its Energy Use

December 1, 2017, 3:37 PM UTC
California, Palm Springs Wind Turbines in desert
Wind Turbine farm in the Palm Springs desert area during windy conditions.
Stephanie Sawyer—Getty Images

Google will buy 536 megawatts of wind power, adding to the company’s already large supply, making it the biggest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, according to a statement Thursday.

The Alphabet subsidiary will purchase wind energy from four different power plants: two in South Dakota, one in Iowa and one in Oklahoma.

Google announced at the end of last year that it would reach 100% renewable energy in 2017. With these deals, the company has agreed to buy enough power to compensate for all of its energy needs this year, though some of the projects are not yet operational.

This is no small feat — with the volume of searches on the site each year in the trillions, the company needs a lot of processing power. Google’s “electricity consumption is considerable, but for them to meet that already by buying renewable energy is a huge achievement,” Kyle Harrison, a New York-based analyst at BNEF, told Bloomberg.

Other companies, such as Apple, are close to buying enough renewable electricity to cover all the power they use in a year. Even if it did, Google would likely remain the largest corporate buyer of clean energy because it needs a lot more power to operate.

Most of the company’s renewable energy sources are wind power, with the rest coming from solar power.

Google has agreed to purchase 3,186 megawatts total, with 2,397 megawatts of that clean power being generated by U.S. sources, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The second-largest buyer of renewable energy is Amazon with 1,219 megawatts.

“Google is buying renewable energy across three continents, and has paved the way for dozens of other companies,” Harrison said.

Editor’s Note: Although Google buys enough renewable energy — wind and solar — to offset its nonrenewable energy consumption, it does not run on 100% energy as previously stated in the headline on this article.