While it comes as no surprise that Google buys more renewable energy than anyone else in the US, the name of the second-biggest buyer of clean power in the country is surprising.
The Pentagon has amassed close to 600 megawatts of renewable generation capacity through long-term power purchase agreements, which is less than Google’s total but more than any other company or government organization in the country, according to Bloomberg.
A lot of the generation capacity represented on the list of top 20 renewable energy buyers in the US, based on data collected by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, either already powers or will power data centers. Google and Amazon Web Services, which is third on the list, both use most of the energy they buy to power their data centers, and so do Facebook and Apple, both of whom are included as well.
Also on the list are Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and the two data center providers that have committed more money than others in their industry to renewable energy: Equinix and Switch SuperNAP, ranking sixth and 12th on the list, respectively.
- Wind Power Deals to Bring Equinix to 100 Renewable in N. America
- Switch Contracts for Solar for Its Entire Data Center Footprint
- Cleaning Up Data Center Power is Dirty Work
As the Bloomberg article points out, the tech sector overall is responsible for an outsize portion of the total amount of renewable energy purchased in the US. A study by the US government’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory also made that conclusion in a report published about a year ago.
While the US military and Google have vastly different missions, they have similar reasons for spending a lot of money on renewable energy. Its price has gone down enough to compete successfully with coal and gas energy, while long-term PPAs secure stable energy rates for long periods of time, sometimes decades.
Both the government and the tech industry also have sustainability goals, and for both energy security is an important strategic objective.
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