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Alphabet signs pacts in Belgium, Netherlands for clean energy

Alphabet Inc, Google's parent company, has signed two new power purchase agreements in Belgium and the Netherlands to meet its net-zero emissions by 2030.

HQ Team

April 13, 2023: Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company, has signed two new power purchase agreements in Belgium and the Netherlands to meet its net-zero emissions by 2030.

The agreements will add clean energy to national electricity grids and match the electricity consumed by Google’s operations, in offices and data centres, with local carbon-free energy sources hourly, according to a company statement.

The company’s operations 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,” said Marc Oman, Principal, Energy & Infrastructure, Google.

Emails on Gmail or videos on YouTube are powered by Google’s data centres, which run on electricity. Sometimes this energy is produced by carbon-emitting sources.

2030 deadline

“So we are constantly looking for alternative and cleaner ways of obtaining it. At Google, we aim 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,” Mr Oman said.

In Belgium, the company will acquire 23.8 megawatts of renewable energy from Luminus, provided by four dedicated, new-to-the-grid onshore wind projects. 

“Our 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 hourly locally, as demand for our services continues to grow.”

Netherlands’ Eneco

In the Netherlands, the agreement with Eneco will enable the company to purchase 153 megawatts of clean energy from near-shore and new-to-the-grid wind farms.

It will help advance the carbon-free energy percentage of the country’s data centre and office operations by 20% in 2024 on an hourly local basis.

Since Google began purchasing renewable energy in 2010, it has signed more than 35 wind and solar agreements in Europe to purchase nearly three gigawatts of renewable power, the equivalent of installing more than 9 million solar panels.

Paired with a 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 centres, we’re helping to establish cleaner data centres.

Greenhouse gas

Research by Implement Consulting and commissioned by Google, shows that digital solutions can help curb around 20-25% of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’ve been matching 100% of our global electricity use annually 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 hyper-scale data centre in St. Ghislain, Belgium,” Mr Owen said.

“We also look for opportunities to support governments, partners, and the users of our products in pursuing their own sustainability goals,” he said.

“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.”


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