Google’s “RE < C" initiative and impact

An article in Fortune (July 23, 2012) describes an effort by Google to initiate projects to drive the cost of renewable enery (RE) to becom elower than the cost of coal (C) based sources. Server farms account for 2% of the total energy used, hence the pressure on Google to decrease its impact on coal based sources. But efforts to buy wind farms, create a server farm in Finland that uses seawater to cool etc ended up not generating the desired outcome. But new initiatives to reduce methane from landfills and hog farms seem to have generated more traction and a bigger environmental impact. How much responsibilty should search and other software companies bear for their role in using energy in the US that is generated by coal fired plants ? Will a commitment by large Silicon valley companies to shift to renewable energy provide the demand guarantee that will enable the alternate energy industry to build scale and technological advancement ? Or are these efforts distracting Google from doing what it does best – build software tools for search and mobile applications ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Operations Management, Service Operations, Supply Chain Issues, Sustainability and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Google’s “RE < C" initiative and impact

  1. Vijay Sachdeva says:

    I think today’s successful companies and leaders have to think about the implications of their business on environmental factors by setting consistent and tangible goals in bringing efficiencies to the table. I’d further hypothesize that the server requirements and the carbon-emissions as a result of that are growing in accordance of Moore’s law, yet the sources of renewable energy are not growing so fast; despite this limitation the leaders of the innovative tech companies has a responsibility as well as an opportunity to set a “green” example for the next-gen corporations.

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