Google, Microsoft, Intel Top Renewable Energy Charts in 2021 – SDxCentral


Google, Microsoft, and Intel held onto the top three spots on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest Green Power Partnership National Top 100 list.

The EPA defines green power as renewable energy sources that are naturally replenishing (like solar, wind, or geothermal energy) and produce electricity with zero anthropogenic, or human-caused emissions. The list ranks companies that partner with the EPA based on each company’s annual green power usage, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). The agency’s rankings also provide additional metrics such as the percentage of total power used that comes from renewable energy and the types of renewable power sources used.

The EPA’s Top 100 green power partnership organizations — including universities, local governments, retail, and tech/telecom — use more than 73 billion kWh of green power, equivalent to the annual electricity use of almost 6.9 million American households.

Google Champions Carbon-Free Energy

Google (No. 1) used 7.9 billion kWh of solar and wind power, accounting for 93% of its total electricity consumption, according to the EPA. This is helping the cloud giant move toward its commitment to operate on carbon-free energy (CFE) 24/7 in all its campuses and data centers by 2030.

In the traditional approach, a company makes up for its non-renewable energy usage by supplying renewable energy to power grids around the world. Google’s commitment, however, is to eliminate non-renewable energy sources for its own operations and fund green energy elsewhere.

To progress toward this goal, Google this year signed contracts to purchase just under a gigawatt (GW) of CFE and improved its ability to match clean energy supply and demand at an hourly level. The cloud giant also says five of its 22 data centers are operating on nearly 90% CFE.

Microsoft Goes for Gold, Settles for Silver

Microsoft, No. 2 on the EPA’s rankings, harnessed small-hydro, wind, and solar power resources to account for 100% of its 6.7 billion kWh of electricity use. Microsoft committed to shift to 100% CFE in its buildings and data centers by 2025, five years before Google plans to accomplish a similar feat. The runner up also made it onto the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) A List of corporate environmental leaders this year. But CDP handed Alphabet, Google’s parent company, an A-.

Intel, who also earned an A from CDP, ranked No. 3 on the EPA’s list by using wind, solar, low-impact hydroelectric, and geothermal energy resources to produce 100% of its annual 5 billion kWh of electricity.

The chipmaker aims to reach 100% renewable energy in its global operations and manufacturing. According to Intel’s 2020-2021 corporate social responsibility report, it’s working toward this goal by purchasing “green power and on-site alternative energy projects that provide power directly to Intel buildings.”

The company said it has more than 100 alternative energy installations producing more than 50,000 kW of green energy in 23 of Intel’s campuses, and 15 more green power installations are under construction.

Other notable technology companies on the EPA’s list include Equinix (No. 6), AT&T (No. 7), T-Mobile US (No. 10), Cisco (No. 17), Dell Technologies (No. 41), and IBM (No. 79).

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