Technology giants Google and Apple are continuing to lead the field in the use of renewable energy, with both companies’ operations now fully powered by renewables.
Apple recently announced that its facilities worldwide are now 100% powered by renewable sources. The so-called “clean energy” sites are made up of all the company’s retail stores, offices, data centres and co-located facilities across 43 countries which include the US, the UK, China and India. This comes after the tech giant announced two years ago that 93% of its worldwide operations were running on clean energy. Apple says it currently has 25 operational renewable energy projects around the world, which have 626 megawatts of generation capacity. In addition, the company also has 15 more projects in construction which “will provide over 1.4 gigawatts of clean renewable energy generation across 11 countries” when completed.
Google also recently stated its purchase of wind and solar energy exceeded the amount of electricity used by its entire offices and data centre operations worldwide in 2017. Google committed to a 100% renewable energy target more than a year ago.
The leading position adopted by the likes of Google and Apple, is now being closely followed by a much wider group of companies, across a wealth of industry sectors. Companies signed deals that support the development of 2.8 gigawatts of new renewable power in the United States last year. The total makes 2017 the second best year for U.S. renewable power purchases by corporations. It also marks the acceleration of a trend that has seen 9 gigawatts of new clean power brought online in the United States since 2013. More than 50 companies across several sectors have entered the North American market in the past five years. A decade ago, just four companies — Apple, Google, SC Johnson and Walmart — had signed a new type of deal to purchase renewable power. Adoption of the deals was slow at first partly because they are fairly complicated. They don't actually involve transmitting renewable energy directly from power plants to corporate facilities, or placing solar panels and wind turbines on site — although those are options some companies choose. Instead, the deals see companies enter into agreements to purchase power from generators, which directly supports the development of new renewable energy projects like wind and solar farms.