It takes a lot of energy to power Google's empire. In 2015, the company used 5.2 terawatt hours—enough to power half a million homes for the year, Popular Mechanics reports. In 2017, 100% of that massive amount of energy will come from renewable sources, Google announced Tuesday. According to the Guardian, the company got 44% of its energy from wind and solar last year. It's calling next year's increase to 100% a "landmark moment." Through its contracts with 20 renewable energy companies, Google says it will buy enough energy to power its 13 large-scale data centers, containing hundreds of thousands of computers each, the New York Times reports.
Google executive Joe Kava says this is going to cement the company's status as the "largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world." Google claims that not only does using renewable energy help fight climate change—tech companies are responsible for about 2% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions—it can also be more cost-effective than fossil fuels. "It's good for the economy, good for business, and good for our shareholders," Kava says. An expert on energy and the environment at Stanford says this move by Google is important because it will put pressure on other major tech companies to heavily invest in renewable energy, which will in turn make renewable energy cheaper for everyone else. (Google is tweaking its auto-fill tool to stymie anti-Semites.)