Google was one of the first technology companies to use renewable energy for its operations by signing a power purchase agreement (PPA) in 2010 and since then other companies have followed.
Verdict has conducted a poll to assess by when the US tech giants such as Amazon and Google can become prominent players in the clean energy business.
Analysis of the poll results shows that it could take between five and 10 years for the US tech giants to gain that position. It would take five years, according to 33% of the respondents and ten years according to 22% of the respondents. Whereas 24% opined that it would take more than ten years.
The remaining 20% of the respondents were unsure about the time it would take for the tech giants to achieve the prominence.
The analysis is based on 237 responses received from the readers of Power Technology, a Verdict network site, between 26 April and 17 May 2021.
American tech giants in the clean energy industry
The information and communications technology sector is one of the fastest growing sectors and is expected to account for 20% of all electricity consumption by 2030, according to a report from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Leading tech behemoths in the US including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are increasingly signing green PPAs with the aim of expanding their renewable power consumption and reducing their carbon footprint.
The trend of transitioning to clean energy sources is expected to continue over the next few years as the rapid growth of data centres market expands their power requirements. Amazon invested in 18 utility-scale wind and solar renewable power projects in the US alone, which will translate into the generation of more than 1.6GW of renewable power and delivery of 4.6MWh of clean energy a year.
Google has been signing a slew of renewable PPAs for many years and is 100% renewable energy-dependent since 2017. Facebook has already reached its 100% renewable energy target in 2020 by signing PPAs for wind and solar energy across the US. Microsoft is on path to reach its goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2025, thanks to a mix of PPAs and purchase of renewable energy certificates (REC).
With tech companies accounting for 38% of overall renewable energy contracts over the last five years and corporate renewable power purchases reaching 10.6GW in 2020, big tech is already a dominant force in the clean energy market, according to Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, an alliance of renewable energy buyers and partners.