Google Energy Shifts into Renewables

April 5, 2012

Google Energy Shifts into Renewables (pdf abstract)

Purchase the full report on Google Energy (Case study #1-429-226) – published  04/2012, 14 pages.
By: Benjamin Bunker, Jennifer Foster, Jason Levine, Rodrigo Sanchez, Gaurang Sethi, and Geroge Tan / Andrew Hoffman, Faculty Advisor
Description: Google has received intense criticism for its data center energy usage. Google’s global data centers draw almost 260 million watts per year–about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant. The first steps of the recently created subsidiary Google Energy was to respond to criticisms and, so far, their efforts have been successful. The team must now formulate their expansion strategy. If successful, the expansion will likely strengthen Google’s image as an industry leader in energy procurement, provide a strong financial return, and possibly create a lucrative new market. However, this initiative has high risks. The team must evaluate: Were its efforts thus far enough, or were they just the baseline of what they could be doing? How far should Google go to act as a leader to address the environmental impacts of these operations?

Teaching Note: Available to Registered Educators. Please login to view it.
Teaching Points: After discussing this case study, students will be able to:

  • Identify the risks and benefits of pursuing sustainability as a core corporate objective.
  • Illustrate how and why an industry leader may pursue a corporate sustainability strategy.
  • Present the difficulties surrounding diversification into the energy market and the risks associated with renewable energy investments.
  • List the public relations and political consequences of adopting sustainability as a core mission, particularly in regard to expanded renewable energy investments.

Key Topics:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Strategic Management