Google Is Quite Simply Blowing Its Competition Away

Wind power is a growing use of cash for Google.

Jan 26, 2014 at 1:03PM

Goog Wind Power


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Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) may be known for its multicolored typeface, but the company is decidedly green. With another wind power purchase this week, here's how this tech giant is blowing away the competition.

The Details
Google announced Wednesday that it is going greener than ever with a new deal to purchase all electricity generated from four Swedish wind farms for the next decade .

While details haven't been disclosed yet, this latest move is part of a larger movement for Google to be the greenest gig in town. The company invested $75 million in a 182 MW Texas wind farm in January , and last November it put $80 million toward six solar farms in California and Arizona totaling 106 MW .

In total, Google has made 16 wind and solar investments  adding up to more than $1 billion . It has a long-term goal of powering its business with 100% renewable energy , a lofty resolution for a company whose massive business model rests on the foundation of dozens of electricity-hungry data centers worldwide .

Google Data Center


The Runner-Ups
Google is leading the technology sector toward total renewable energy, but it's not the only one. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) also has a goal of 100% renewable energy, and has made leaps and bounds in the past few years.

Unlike Google, Apple's operations extend far beyond data centers – but at its data centers, the company has already achieved full renewable energy use . From 2010 to 2012, Apple more than doubled its worldwide renewable energy use, which now accounts for 75% of the company's consumption . Its new North Carolina data center boasts both the largest non-utility fuel cell installation, as well as the largest end-user owned onsite solar array in the nation.

Apple Data Center


Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is the newest turnaround story in the tech world. As recent as 2011, Greenpeace was waging an international war on Facebook to "unfriend" coal from two Oregon data centers. But by the end of the same year, Facebook had agreed to push for renewable energy use everywhere . Energy use at its newest data center, slated for operation in 2014, will be more than offset by a 138 MW wind farm, and it continues to celebrate small victories like a 208 kW rooftop solar system on its Menlo Park headquarters . But the company's carbon footprint report shows it still has a ways to go – 34% of its energy originates from coal, compared to just 19% renewable .

Facebook Energy Use


Even megacorporation Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is giving green a chance. Microsoft made public its carbon neutral intentions in 2012 , and last November the company signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Renewable Energy Systems for a 110 MW Texas wind farm. It also purchased more green power in 2013 in absolute terms than any other company except Intel Corporation

Go Green To Make Green?
Tech companies are more consumer-oriented than ever before. And when consumers demand clean energy, corporations are increasingly responding. Google is the undisputed industry leader in green investments, but steep competition has put all tech companies neck-and-neck to see who can turn the deepest shade of green in the next year.

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Fool contributor Justin Loiseau owns shares of Apple, Facebook, and Google. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Facebook, Google, and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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