Google data centres to ‘work harder when sun is shining and wind is blowing’

A new carbon-intelligent platform will shift the timing of non-urgent computing tasks to when more solar and wind power are available

Google has launched a new system for its largest data centres that moves the most demanding tasks to times when the cleanest sources of energy are most plentiful.

The tech giant says the new ‘carbon-intelligent’ platform will shift the timing of many computing tasks to when more solar and wind power are available.

This will be done without additional computer hardware and without impacting the performance of Google services like Search, Maps and YouTube that people rely on around the clock.

Shifting the timing of non-urgent computing tasks like creating new filter features on Google Photos, YouTube video processing, or adding new words to Google Translate is expected to help the company signficantly reduce the electrical grid’s carbon footprint.

In an announcement, Google says: “The first version of this carbon-intelligent computing platform focuses on shifting tasks to different times of the day, within the same data centre. But, it’s also possible to move flexible compute tasks between different data centres, so that more work is completed when and where doing so is more environmentally friendly.

“Our plan for the future is to shift load in both time and location to maximize the reduction in grid-level carbon dioxide emissions.”

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