Google, which has pledged to use completely carbon free energy by 2030 and is focused on sustainable facilities, will invest $9.5 billion in data centers and other buildings this year in the United States.
The tech giant is putting the money into 14 data centers in 13 states as well as investments at facilities in 13 other states. This complements more than $37 billion in investments Google has made in its data centers and offices over the past five years.
The investment comes as the company ramps up its energy efficiency initiatives and as data centers continue to be among the highest priorities in energy transitions.
According to its latest environmental report from 2021, Google says its data centers are twice as efficient as the industry standard and produce six times the computing data with the same amount of energy as compared with five years ago. The company says its data center power usage effectiveness (PUE) 1.10 compared to an industry average of 1.59, meaning its data centers use about six times less overhead energy. The company says its PUE has dropped from a level of about 1.23 in 2008.
Overall, Google says through 2020 it has matched 100% of its electricity consumption with renewable energy purchases for four consecutive years. The company says it has been carbon neutral since 2007.
Among the efforts to keep Google’s data centers energy efficient are projects like one formed last year with AES Corporation that provides carbon free energy to Google facilities in Virginia. The 10-year supply contract includes energy sources from wind, solar, hydro and battery storage.
Facebook parent Meta launched several projects this year, including in Kansas City and Idaho, that it says are among the most sustainable data centers in the world and will add electricity to the grid. Comcast is adding 250 megawatts of solar energy that it says will power 12% of its operations, where much of its energy use comes from data centers.
Equinix also recently issued green bonds worth $1.2 billion, much of which is intended to advance green data center developments. In 2020, Google issued a $5.75 billion sustainability bond, said to be the largest of any company, that was used significantly toward data centers and clean and efficient energy projects.