Google aims to go carbon-free by 2030

Solar panels with wind turbines in the background

Google announced today it aims to run on carbon-free energy by 2030.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai called the carbon-free target a “stretch goal” in an interview with Reuters. He explained it would force Google to move beyond offsetting its carbon emissions and require technological and political breakthroughs.

“The problem is so immense, many of us need to lead the way and show solutions,” Pichai said. “We’re one small player in this, but we can set an example.”

Last year, wind, solar and other renewable energy sources accounted for 61% of Google’s global hourly electricity usage. The percentage varied by facility, as carbon-free sources fulfilled 96% of hourly power needs at Google’s Oklahoma data center, while its gas-reliant Singapore location had only 3% carbon-free power.

Pichai says he’s optimistic Google can bridge that gap by using emerging sources such as geothermal reservoirs, batteries to store solar power overnight and managing its overall power needs better.

“To plan 24/7 hourly being carbon-free in our data centers and campuses around the world, we see an enormous logistics challenge, which is why we’ve been hard at work modeling the last year how to get there,” Pichai said. “And we feel confident we can get there by 2030.”

To reach its goals, the tech giant is investing in technologies to help its partners and people make sustainable choices. For example, Google is committed to helping 500+ cities and local governments globally reduce 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually by 2030.

Google is also working with a network of environmental organizations on a science-based approach to reforestation and restoration. It’s launched a €10 million ($11.9 million) Impact Challenge in Europe to support sustainability ideas and projects.

Google estimates its commitment to carbon-free energy will generate more than 20,000 new clean-energy jobs by 2025.

“We’re optimistic that by harnessing new technologies, investing in the right infrastructure and tools, and empowering partners, nonprofits and people, this can be the most decisive decade for climate action yet. We’re proud to do our part, and to help move the world closer to a carbon-free future for all,” Pichai concluded.