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Google Cloud wants to go completely carbon-free

(Image credit: Google)

Google has announced its goals for its third decade of climate action and the company plans to run its cloud business on carbon-free energy at all times by 2030.

The search giant has a long track record on clean energy and in 2007, it became the first major company to become carbon neutral. A decade later in 2017, Google became the first company of its size to match 100 percent of its electricity consumption with renewable energy.

Today Google Cloud is the only major cloud computing provider to purchase enough renewable energy to cover its entire operations. In fact, it has purchased more wind and solar power than any other corporation in history over the years. However, wind and solar power don't work in all places at all times. 

When one of Google's data centers has more renewable power than it needs, the company sells it back to the local grid so that someone else can use it. When a data center doesn't have enough power though, the company draws power from the local grid and this power may not be renewable. To go completely carbon-free by 2030, Google will need to solve this challenge first.

Carbon-free energy

In order to reach its goal of being completely carbon-free by 2030, Google plans to invest in approaches that will make it possible for the company to source reliable carbon-free energy at all of its data center locations regardless of the time of day.

In a blog post, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai explained that it will pair wind and solar power sources together and increase its use of battery storage to help reach its goal. Google is also working on ways to apply AI to optimize its electricity demand and forecasting.

In addition to helping the environment, the company's biggest sustainability moonshot yet will also create 12,000 jobs by 2025.

Google Cloud is the first cloud provider to commit to being completely carbon-free and by achieving its goal by 2030, the company hopes to demonstrate that a carbon-free economy is possible while also setting an example for other cloud computing and technology businesses.