Major challenges ahead
Even with the advances in technology, Google's Demasi said there are still major challenges ahead, not the least of which is the intermittent nature of renewable energy and delivery hurdles. For example, "smart grids," or electrical grids that are controlled by computers and measure the amount of electricity going out to businesses as well as the surplus green power being sold back to a utility, are still in their infancy.
Demasi said getting utilities to play the middleman role and deliver the renewable product Google wants is not always possible because green power resources are still limited.
Coal-fired power plants are still the single largest producer of electricity for corporations, but that is changing, according to Hitt. Five years ago, coal-fired power plants produced 52 percent of the nation's industrial energy supply. Today, they produce just 30 percent, she said.
Renewable energy still makes up just 9.1 percent of the power produced in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration.
"The holy grail is a low-cost resource delivered to the end user by the utility but that's also scalable to a company's needs," Demasi said. "Our ambition is to be 100 percent green as we grow, but that's a daunting challenge...."
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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