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Green Googling – Renewable Energy and the Internet Giant

By Guest Blogger Dan McCarthy

Hollywood seemed to think that moviegoers would flock to see Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in the 2013 comedy The Internship, although the film has thus far “underperformed” at the box office, to use the technical term, or is a “gigantic flop” to use the less technical term. The film depicts the adventures of a pair of failed businessmen who, in an attempt to restart their careers, become junior interns with Internet giant Google.

A number of film critics were perplexed by this movie that seemed to function as a 119-minute advertisement for Google, a company that certainly doesn’t need the publicity, or an apparently unfunny comedy centered around it. Of course Google doesn’t need the publicity, and it’s uncertain whether or not they were seeking it via this movie. After all, Google has essentially become a verb for Internet searching, and it’s not as though anyone ever says they’re going to Yahoo or AOL something online. One aspect of their operations that Google acknowledges seems to go beyond seeking publicity or kudos, and that’s their extensive links to renewable energy.

The Google Goal

The company has established a goal of eventually using 100% renewable, sustainable energy to power their operations, although the figure currently stands at around 30%. While many companies see green energy as a positive marketing tool, Google has also been transparent about their views that it’s also an excellent business model for the long term, giving them a clear advantage as traditional forms of energy become more expensive.

The Sun

In 2007, Google installed the largest group of solar panels for a private corporation at their global HQ in Mountain View, California. While the cost of such an installation is mammoth, Google approached it with the same kind of financial outlook as a private homeowner who might be looking to install solar panels; in time, the panels would pay for themselves by saving as much as the cost of installation. For Google, this point is expected to be reached in 2013, which is slightly ahead of schedule.

Think Global, Act Local

Google also takes a more localized approach with its various data centres across the US (and the world) in purchasing green energy with which to directly power these centres. This is so far limited to wind farms in the US and Europe, but as renewable energy production facilities become more commonplace, it could certainly be applied to more and more Google facilities across the world.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

While the cynics could point out that many corporations receive tax rebates for investing in renewable energy, the end result is the same- developments are made in the field of renewable, sustainable energy, meaning that the efficiency of this type of energy will increase while the cost will decrease. Google has so far committed more than USD$1 billion to renewable energy development projects in the US, as well as South Africa and Germany.

While most companies can’t go green at this level, there are many ways to contribute to a cleaner earth, and eventually, cheaper renewable energy, and there are a variety of environmental data resources on offer to learn more. Going green is great for the earth, great for your business, and the publicity certainly wouldn’t hurt!


About the Author

Dan McCarthy is a freelance writer and green enthusiast. He is mainly interested in renewable energy sources and sustainable development. Dan is currently blogging on behalf of EDRnet.com. They are offering a variety of services, such as environmental data resources.


About Kevin

Kevin is both an environmentalist and a tech guy and has been writing, editing and publishing this blog since 2007. He answers questions related to how you can use tech to go greener.

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