Google campus in Mountain View, California. Photo: Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images

Google on Thursday announced a 1.6 gigawatt package of renewable power deals in the U.S., South America and Europe that the tech behemoth is calling the "biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history."

Why it matters: The announcement signals how buys from large companies, including several tech giants, are becoming an increasingly important driver of solar and wind power growth. It also arrives the same day that Amazon vowed to power its facilities and operations with 100% renewables by 2030 as part of wider new climate pledges.

The big picture: The growth of corporate solar and wind purchasing is driven by falling power costs and pressure on companies — especially huge power-users — to be more climate-friendly.

  • Another data point: This week, the Solar Energy Industries Association and the consultancy Wood Mackenzie said in a report that offsite corporate procurement is the "main driver" of 17% of U.S. utility-scale solar projects announced this year.

What they're saying: Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post that the 18 separate deals will boost their worldwide wind and solar portfolio to nearly 5.5 gigwatts — "equivalent to the capacity of a million solar rooftops."

  • Pichai said the package meets their "additionality" criteria, which requires purchase commitments that actually spur construction of new renewable power projects.

But, but, but: Big tech players, while boosting renewables buys, face criticism from activists over their cloud, AI and other business lines tailored specifically to oil industry clients.

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Amy Harder, author of Generate
5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."