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Google invests in renewable energy certification programs in Asia


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Google has announced that it will make seed investments in the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), a non profit organisation in promoting renewable energy, to lay groundwork for renewable energy certification programs across Asia, starting with Taiwan. With the funding, CRS will build a coalition of international stakeholders from public, private and NGO sectors to take this forward.

Google’s investment will move towards making all its operations run on renewable energy. It is not clear when the program will come to India, or how Google will deploy its solutions in the country. Google said that the certification programs weren’t available in Asia, but its data centres, including those in Taiwan and Singapore, used up the majority of its electricity consumption.

As of December 2015, Google had purchased over 2 gigawatts of renewable energy. Then it added 842 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to power its data centres. On another blog, Google said that 35% of its operations were done through renewable energy at the moment, but “the places with the best renewable power potential are generally not the same places where a data center can most efficiently and reliably serve its users.” Since not all electricity grids use renewable sources, it wants to provide green electricity not just for itself but also for others.

RECs generated to ensure renewable energy source: Google adds that the renewable energy certification programs tag each megawatt hour of energy from wind or solar as renewable energy leading to a renewable energy certificate (video- REC). It says that it buys both physical power and RECs associated with it to make sure what they’re buying is ‘in fact renewable’.

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Related read: Sajag app to help calculate energy & cost savings of going greener

Data centre expansion: In related news, last month, the company announced expansion of its data centres by means of Google Cloud Platform to 12 more regions across America and Tokyo, to be up and running this year and by end of 2017.

As of November 2015, wind power held the top position among total renewable energy installed capacity in India at over 24,000 MW, followed by solar at over 4,500 MW.

renewable india

MediaNama’s take: Although it is unclear when and if Google plans to install green data centres in India, we’re aware that the country’s pollution is one of the worst in the world. At this point, any solution to help raise awareness towards more efficient use of energy is good. Also, this signals Google’s larger possibly business arm of first utilising and then probably serving green energy. In November 2015, Wired did a stinging piece on India’s reliance on coal for electricity generation, and the impact it has across the globe.

Green initiatives in India:

– Earlier this week, Ola launched 5,100 Ola electric rickshaws on its mobile app in partnership with Bhartiya Micro Credit in Delhi-NCR.

– In December, Airtel said it would make investments in green energy to reduce its carbon footprint.

– In November 2015, Bidgely raised funding worth $16.6 million. This would give Bidgely access to 65 million new homes worldwide, and let it expand operations.

– In October 2015, Aircel partnered with Tech Mahindra to roll out IoT services including smart energy, connected vehicles and smart cities.

– In August 2015, Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development, approved 98 cities to participate in the Government’s smart city plan for the country. Under this mission, selected cities would introduce various solutions like video crime monitoring, smart electricity meters, renewable energy generation etc.

Also read: IIT Bombay project connects 13 villages over TV white space

Chart source: Wikipedia based on Government statistics

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