Google’s goal is to be completely powered by renewable energy within a decade. Today it announced an investment that might make that ambitious goal a little easier. The company has put an undisclosed amount of seed funding into the Center for Resource Solutions so the non-profit can launch renewable certification programs in Asia.
The Center for Resource Solutions already runs one of the largest renewable energy certification programs, Green-e, in North America. The San Francisco-based organization recently announced plans to start similar programs in other parts of the world by the end of this year.
In a blog post, Google’s Global Energy Policy and Strategy program policy lead Marsden Hanna wrote that the Center for Resource Solutions will start in Taiwan, one of the two Asian countries (Singapore being the other one) where Google currently has a data center.
Beginning its Asian expansion in Taiwan not only allows the Center for Resource Solutions to test its certification program in a relatively small market, but it will also help Google because one company, Taipower, currently holds a monopoly over the country’s power market. Since all electricity must be purchased through Taipower, this has made it difficult for companies—including Google—to buy renewable energy on a large scale.
The situation may change, however, since the Democratic Progressive Party, which has made increasing the use of renewable energy part of its platform, recently took control of the Taiwanese legislature in the country’s general elections
Getting a reputable third party to certify energy means that buyers have more transparency about where their power comes from. It also allows them to know exactly how much of it comes from renewable sources. In turn, this reassurance means companies are more willing to spend money on renewable energy, thereby growing the size of the market.
Google is already the largest non-utility purchaser of renewable energy in the world, so investing in the Center for Resource Solutions doesn’t just give it a public relations boost, but can also encourage other companies to follow its example.