Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 and 2019 marks the third year in a row that they’ve matched their annual electricity consumption. They are now working towards 24×7 carbon-free energy In all their data centers, which deliver Google products to billions of people around the world. To achieve the goal of 24×7 carbon-free energy, the data centers need to work more closely with carbon-free energy sources on the electricity grid.
On the 22nd of April Google announced a new carbon-intelligent platform that shifts the timing of many compute tasks to when low-carbon power sources are most plentiful. This is done without additional computer hardware and without impacting the performance of Google services like Search, Maps, and YouTube that people rely on around the clock. Shifting the timing of non-urgent compute tasks helps reduce the carbon footprint of the electricity grid.
Early results demonstrate that carbon-aware load shifting works. Results from the pilot suggest that by shifting compute jobs, Google can increase the amount of lower-carbon energy they consume. Their plan for the future is to shift load in both time and location to maximize the reduction in grid-level CO2 emissions.
With these findings, Google hopes to inspire other organizations to deploy their own versions of a carbon-intelligent platform, so that together, the data centers can continue to encourage the growth of carbon-free electricity worldwide.