Google’s data centers function 24/7 and suck up a ton of energy — so it’s in both the company’s and the planet’s interest to make them do so as efficiently as potential. One new method has the amenities keeping an eye on the weather, so they know when the best times are to switch to photovoltaic and wind energy.
The difficulty with renewables is that they’re not consistent, just like the output of a power plant. Of course, it isn’t simply that when the wind dies down, wind energy is suddenly ten times as costly or not available — but there are all kinds of exchanges and energy economies that fluctuate relying on what’s being put onto the grid and from where.
Google’s newest effort to make its data centers greener and extra environment friendly is to predict these energy economies and schedule its endless data-crunching tasks round them.
It’s not that someone at Google looks up the actual weather for the next day and calculates how much photovoltaic energy will be contributed in a given area and when. In this case, a Danish green-tech agency called Tomorrow does the job for Google.
Climate patterns affect those energy economies, resulting in times when the grid is mostly powered by carbon sources like coal, and other times when renewables are chipping their maximum.