Tech companies look to renewable energy as power-hungry data centers become a growing part of their operations, the U.S. government's SunShot Initiative continues to hit it goals in decreasing the price of solar, and more CEOs list sustainability as a top business concern. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy industry news roundup.
Power-Devouring Data Centers are Hungry for Clean Energy
Sustainable data centers are becoming a growing concern for tech companies. In January, Facebook announced a new Irish data center that will focus on energy efficiency, and Amazon Web Services has committed to obtaining 100% of its power from renewable sources. Meanwhile, Microsoft announced it was bringing on a director for data center sustainability, a newly created role designed to focus on making Microsoft's growing network of data centers more sustainable with a decreased environmental impact. As data centers make up a bigger portion of energy users, it's possible tech companies' push for renewable energy could stimulate lasting change in the energy sector
Solar Prices are Dropping, According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative is devoted entirely to driving down the cost of electricity generated by solar panels — the target is solar power with $1 per watt installed costs by 2020, a 75 percent reduction in costs from 2010. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) releases a set of reports each year devoted to tracking solar prices, and according to the latest editions, prices are steadily falling, more or less on schedule.
U.S. Off-Shore Wind Might be on the Verge of Rapid Growth
By global standards, the recently installed Block Island Wind Farm is a tiny project, just five turbines capable of powering about 17,000 homes. Yet many people are hoping its completion will mark the start of a new American industry. The idea of building turbines offshore, where strong, steady wind could, in theory, generate large amounts of power, has long been seen as a vital step toward a future based on renewable energy. Yet even as European nations installed thousands of the machines, American proposals ran into roadblocks. Now, offshore wind may be on the verge of rapid growth in the United States.