Emails on Gmail or videos on YouTube are powered by our data centers, which run on electricity. Sometimes this energy is produced by carbon-emitting sources, so we are constantly looking for alternative and cleaner ways of obtaining it. At Google, we set the goal to achieve net zero emissions across our operations, including our data centers and global offices, by 2030. This involves running on carbon-free energy 24/7 and helping create greener, more resilient electricity grids where we operate.
This is why today, we’re announcing two new power purchase agreements (PPAs) in Belgium and the Netherlands, building on long-standing commitments to clean energy in both countries. The PPAs will add new clean energy to their respective national electricity grids and match the electricity consumed by Google’s operations, in our offices and data centers, with local carbon-free energy sources on an hourly basis. This means our operations both in Belgium and The Netherlands will be at or near 80% carbon-free energy in 2024. Together with our recent deals in Spain and the UK, we hope to help shape a carbon-free future for Europe.
Expanding clean energy in Europe
The new PPAs continue our work to promote the use of sustainable energy in our operations. In Belgium, we will acquire 23.8 megawatts of renewable energy from Luminus, provided by four dedicated, new-to-the-grid onshore wind projects. Our current projections indicate that this PPA will help us keep our Belgium data centers and offices at or near 80% carbon-free energy in 2024, when measured on an hourly local basis, as demand for our services continues to grow. In the Netherlands, our agreement with Eneco will enable us to purchase 153 megawatts of clean energy from near-shore, new-to-the-grid wind farms, helping advance the carbon-free energy percentage of our data center and office operations in the country by 20% in 2024, on an hourly local basis.
We’ve made significant progress in our decarbonization efforts in Europe, supporting the green transition to carbon-free electricity systems. Since we began purchasing renewable energy in 2010, we’ve signed more than 35 wind and solar agreements in Europe to purchase nearly 3 gigawatts of renewable power — the equivalent of installing more than 9 million solar panels. Paired with our carbon-intelligent computing platform, which shifts the timing and location of certain computer tasks to times of day and locations where wind and solar sources are most plentiful in our data centers, we’re helping to establish cleaner data centers.
Our progress towards a carbon-free future
Research by Implement Consulting and commissioned by Google shows that digital solutions can help curb around 20-25% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is needed for a net zero EU economy, and we are committed to facilitate the transition to a lower-carbon world. We’ve been matching 100% of our global electricity use on an annual basis with renewable energy since 2017, and implementing several clean energy projects in Europe, including our first ever battery-based system for backup power at a hyperscale data center in St. Ghislain, Belgium.
But beyond transforming our operations, we also look for opportunities to support governments, partners and the users of our products in pursuing their own sustainability goals. For instance, we recently partnered with C40 Cities to help cities like Paris and Copenhagen explore 24/7 carbon-free energy, and launched fuel-efficient routing on Google Maps, to help people reduce carbon emissions of their vehicles.
Learn more about our goal to 24/7 carbon-free energy on our website.