Google and Microsoft are buying more power to make their data centers greener

Overview: Google and Microsoft are two of the largest cloud-focused companies in the world, always competing to win more customers in the enterprise space. There is one thing, however, that both companies agree on: the need to radically change the environmental impact that their ever-growing data centers have on the world.

The path to a more environmentally sustainable cloud business is paved with new agreements to access renewable sources of clean energy. Google and Microsoft are indeed very busy buying new clean energy for their European operations, with the overall goal of becoming completely carbon-free in just a few years.

Google recently announced a new power purchase agreement (PPA) with Engie, a utility company based in France, to receive 100 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from an offshore wind farm in Scotland. The new power will go to support Mountain View’s UK operations, bringing the company closer to a carbon-free organization – at least in Europe.

Google plans to use exclusively renewable energy sources for its UK offices and cloud regions by 2030 and with Engie’s latest PPA the company expects to be 90% carbon free by 2025 According to Google EMEA President Matt Brittin, people across the UK and Europe are increasingly concerned about climate change and energy sources.

Brittin said Google shares the same concerns and believes technology will play an important role in solving the energy problem by reducing its own emissions and helping others reduce theirs. Previously, Google struck a deal with SoftBank/SB Energy to get 900 MW of solar power for a meeting center in Texas.

Microsoft is also aware of the environmental impact of its cloud data centers, and the company is also committed to improving the situation in Europe and elsewhere. The Redmond-based giant has announced a new PPA to supply 900MW of renewable energy to its Irish data centers, bringing the total (green) number of its European capacity to more than 10 gigawatts (GW).

Microsoft has not provided any information on new energy suppliers in Ireland but according to other sources the new deal involves Statkraft (Norway) and Energia Group (Ireland). Renewable energy comes from a mix of wind and solar power plants, and Microsoft plans to make its Irish data centers 100% carbon-free by 2025. Previously, Redmond signed a 20-year contract with AES Corporation to manage its California-based data centers on renewable sources.

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