Future Energy Conference: Google's search for renewables
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Sam Arons (right, with NEBC Executive Director Robert Grott), said the company has put $1 billion into renewable energy investments over the past several years.
Sam Arons, a member of Google Inc.'s Global Infrastructure team, captivated a crowd of about 300 energy industry types Tuesday afternoon at the Northwest Environmental Business Council's Future Energy Conference.
Arons, who gave a keynote address during the event's lunch hour, delivered a plain-spoken talk about the search engine giant's extensive energy saving and renewable energy efforts at its many datacenters.
Google, said Arons, is doing pretty well. Whereas datacenters use about 1.3 percent of all electricity worldwide, Google uses just 1 percent of that.
Here are some other nuggets that Arons, who works out of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Mountain View, Calif. headquarters, shared at the Conference.
- On why Google works so hard on energy matters: "We want to control it because it would cost us less and we can make it more environmentally sustainable."
- Google's efficiency and renewable energy goals: Get use of renewable options, such as solar and wind, up to 100 percent while getting the number of carbon offsets the company needs to buy down to, well, 0 percent.
- In The Dalles, the seven-year-old $600 million datacenter that takes up two buildings that are each about the size of a football field and generate about $650 million a year of economic activity for Google's business partners in the area.
- Google put $1 billion into renewable energy investments over the past several years, including one that could be used for offshore wind energy in the Atlantic.
- On Google's solar panels at its Mountain View headquarters: "We thought this could pay for itself in about six or seven years. Which is right about now. It might be time to check on that."
Sustainable Business Oregon is a Future Energy Conference sponsor. The event runs through Wednesday.
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