A little over a year ago Google’s stated goal was 100% reliance on renewable energy. To do that they would have to not only build their own wind, solar, hydrothermal, etc farms, but purchase over three gigawatts from suppliers that provided renewable.
That’s right, they’re purchasing almost 2 & 1/2 times what’s required to send a Delorean back to November 5th, 1955.
That’s not to say Google’s immune from an electrical grid collapse, however it does mean that Google now is doing next to no evil in terms of energy pollution as for every watt they use it’s at least matched in purchase or production by a renewable source.
Currently it’s not particularly feasible to power exclusively from any renewable source as if the wind dies down or it’s cloudy you end up not producing power in a region, but we might be getting close to being able to purchase Googlewatts delivered over Fiber.
Anything they do past this last three gigawatts will put Google into the seat of net power producer rather than consumer.
That said, it’ll be amusing to see if Google could compete with the electric oligopolies in various districts. They didn’t do so well in any market I’ve seen attempting to get pole access they’re legally entitled to with their Fiber project.
So, if you’re looking for a coal-fired search engine I’m afraid you’re probably going to have to Bing your next few queries.[Google Blog]