Google Clean Energy Investment Nears $1 Billion

By | Dec 20, 2012

Google is getting close to topping a billion dollars invested in renewable energy projects. Google's latest move is a $75 million equity investment in a 50-megawatt wind farm in Iowa, and the company is already in a position to sell the extra power it generates to local consumers and business organizations, as a utility.

In the big picture, cheaper and more widely available clean energy might soon emerge as a power solution that midsize firms can utilize to fuel energy-guzzling in-house data centers and servers that are still powered by costly and environmentally unfriendly energy sources.

Aggressive Investments

Once criticized for the massive drain on the nation's energy resources needed to fuel its data centers, Google is now arguably the most aggressive corporation to embrace renewable energy for its electricity requirements. Google has plans to utilize clean power resources to generate one third of the power required by its massive data centers across the country.

Biofuels, wind energy, and solar power are the juice feeding Google's data farms not just in the United States but also in Europe. In just over two and a half years, Google has invested as much as $990 million since its decision to become a carbon-neutral corporation a few years back. GigaOM reports that Google as a major U.S. corporation is not just replacing its demand for dirty energy but also supplying power to customers nationwide with some of its projects, such as Solar City, a $280 million investiment in home rooftop solar systems.

As a company obsessed with alternative energy, Google's investments in the power generation sector are only expected to rise in the future. Midsize firms could soon find themselves leveraging Google's ever-expanding clean power generation capacity to serve their energy needs.

Google's Green Energy to Fuel Midsize Firms

Google has grown from an internet search engine to a tech giant that has future plans to sell green energy on a national scale. Google is funding greater innovation in the energy space with active participation in the national energy market. The company could soon emerge as a leading energy services provider for small and midsize firms that do not have resources to build their own clean energy platforms.

The downside to this is the creation of a monopoly of sorts, because business customers would be sharing a lot more information with the search engine giant, which already sells a wide array of tech products and services to the business community.

However, this security issue should be less of a concern as long as Google continues to strengthen its own security systems to protect sensitive customer information residing on its networks.

Speaking of cloud computing, if Google's green power supply does finds its way into midsize business organizations, IT managers could once again consider the possibility of maintaining on-premise data centers - fueled by cheap green power - instead of risky cloud environments to process and store sensitive business information within secure in-house IT networks.

The ability to operate data centers on secure in-house IT infrastructures fueled by cheaper power would enable IT managers to leverage the cloud only in cases when the productivity and efficiency of cloud computing matters more than the security of data processed within. In turn, this would allow them to store and process sensitive information within more secure data centers on premise.

The availability of green power could shape IT environments at midsize firms, ultimately leading to an IT ecosystem in which factors such as brand image and consumer values play a role on IT processes.

Google's entrance into this market might force other major tech providers and competitors like Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple to enhance their renewable energy portfolios. Such competition could result in more available clean power products at lower costs, all within the reach of small and midsize firms.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.