Google has recently introduced the option to choose a Google Cloud region according to the lowest CO2 footprint. The new feature is currently available for Cloud Run and Datastream only, with Google planning to extend the offer to more Google Cloud services in the future.
While Google Cloud, Azure and AWS significantly outperform other data centre providers in energy efficiency, there are still differences according to the regions used. Among strategies to reduce carbon emissions, Google Cloud highlights choosing carefully the region for new applications, running batch jobs on the region with the lowest emissions and setting an organisational policy for lower emission regions, restricting the location to a subset of regions using org policies.
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Regions marked with the Lowest CO2 label have a CFE per cent of at least 75 per cent, or a grid carbon intensity of a maximum of 200 gCO2eq/kWh, where grid carbon intensity is the average lifecycle gross emissions per unit of energy from the grid and CFE per cent is the average percentage of carbon-free energy consumed in a particular location on an hourly basis.
Steren Giannini, Product Manager at Google, suggests that the cloud provider performed some A/B testing on the new option with significant results.
Google Cloud is not the only provider trying to help companies reduce carbon emissions and set sustainability goals. Microsoft has recently introduced Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. AWS provides a Sustainability in the Cloud section that highlights, where the renewable energy projects are located, which regions are covered, and additional information about sustainability. Cloud Carbon Footprint is a free open source tool to measure cloud carbon emissions and understand cloud usage impacts on the environment. It supports AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.