Creative ideas come from everywhere, but it’s not often you see a search engine giving utilities business advice. A new white paper from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) could improve renewable energy’s value add for tech companies, utilities, and renewable-energy stakeholders everywhere. Here’s what you need to know.
Ramping up renewables
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) may seem like nothing more than a search page, but its energy use is astounding. To offset its emissions, the company has invested more than $1 billion in renewable-energy projects, installed solar panels at its Mountain View headquarters, and purchased more than 260 MW of wind power to help power its data centers.
Google isn’t alone, either. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) currently relies on renewables for 75% of its worldwide energy use, a respectable jump from its 35% capacity in 2010.
But as much as going green gives PR a positive push, Google is fed up with the current system. As its energy arrangements currently stand, the corporation has to purchase “pre-mixed” energy packages from utilties that might be carbon-heavy. In other words, the only way companies like Google can currently guarantee their greenness is to work with 100% renewable-energy companies or build the facilities themselves.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced in April that it will double its initial $600 million investment in a new North Carolina data center — and it’s ready to rely on renewables.
In partnership with North Carolina-based utility Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK), the companies are piloting a new purchasing arrangement that would allow Duke to charge Google directly for the added expense of renewable energies. That means Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) gets the full green go-ahead, while Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)’s 7.2 million other customers aren’t hit with higher power bills.
This “renewable energy tariff” is a win-win, providing ultimate choice to energy sellers and buyers. This opt-in approach paves the way for direct demand, allowing utilities to focus on renewables while keeping costs affordable for other clients.
There could even be secondary benefits as tech companies such as Google, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), or Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) offer up their engineering innovation to increase efficiencies and cut their own costs.