Google shows off its data centers, powered increasingly by clean energy

by David Pomerantz

October 19, 2012

Ever wondered what the Internet looks like? If so, youre in luck: Google has drawn back the curtains of its data centers, the facilities that compute and store all of our gmail, youtube videos, and searches.

Googles data center in Hamina, Finland by Connie Zhou

Googles photos are beautiful. They express the amazing legacy of innovation that technology companies have built in data storage, a legacy were hoping they can apply to clean energy. They also convey the massive scale of the data that were increasingly sending to the cloud. For three years, Greenpeace has been drawing attention to the fact that all that data requires a massive amount of electricity, but also that companies have the potential to make sure that energy comes from clean sources.

The fight club credo of the data center industry, where the first rule is not to talk about data centers, is steadily changing, as is their public profile. Companies like Yahoo!, Facebook, and Google with a good story to tell about their data centers are the ones who are the most open, and it makes sense why.

Google has taken the lead on making sure the electricity powering those facilities comes from clean energy sources, like the wind power purchases its made for its data centers in the US Midwest.

Other companies, like Microsoft and Amazon, have not shown the same leadership to make renewable energy a priority as they grow, instead simply buying dirty energy off the grid from their local utility.

Lets hope that Microsoft and Amazon start following Googles lead, first by shedding some light on their data centers, then by powering them with clean energy.

David Pomerantz

By David Pomerantz

David Pomerantz is a former Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, based in San Francisco. He helps lead Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100% renewable energy.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.