The world famous US company Google ,which is behind the most used search engine, plans in the very next years to invest hundreds of millions Dollars in renewable energy sources.
The goal is to make solar, geothermal and wind energies price-competitive with electricity from coal-fired plants.
A very ambitious idea as coal is much cheaper – and polluting – than renewable energy sources. This might change quickly with all the money that is being currently invested.
As the New York Times notes :
The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., announced Tuesday that it intended to develop and help stimulate the creation of renewable energy technologies that are cheaper than coal-generated power.
Google said it would spend hundreds of millions of dollars, part of that to hire engineers and energy experts to investigate alternative energies like solar, geothermal and wind power.
The effort is aimed at reducing Google’s own mounting energy costs to run its vast data centers, while also fighting climate change and helping to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.
“We see technologies we think can mature into very capable industries that can generate electricity cheaper than coal,” said Larry Page, a Google founder and president of products, “and we don’t see people talking about that as much as we would like.”
The initiative, which Google is calling RE < C, using mathematical symbols to denote “renewable energy cheaper than coal,” will be based in Google’s research and development group.
The company also said that Google.org, the philanthropic for-profit subsidiary that Google seeded in 2004 with three million shares of its stock, would invest in energy start-ups.
Google says its goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy — enough to power the city of San Francisco — more cheaply than coal-generated electricity. The company predicted that this can be accomplished in “years, not decades.”
Mr. Page, in an interview, said that failing to investigate new businesses could hurt Google more than any potential distraction. “If you look at companies that don’t do anything new,” he said, “they are guaranteed never to get bigger. They miss a lot of opportunities and they miss the next big things.”
As part of the initiative, executives at Google.org said they are working with two companies that have “promising, scalable energy technologies.”
One of these, eSolar, based in Pasadena, Calif., uses thousands of small mirrors to concentrate sunlight and generate steam that powers electric generators.
The other, Makani Power of Alameda, Calif., is developing wind turbines that will run on powerful and generally more predictable winds at high altitudes.
In a conference call Tuesday with reporters, Sergey Brin, Google’s other founder and president of technology, said the effort was motivated in part by the company’s frustrating search for clean, cheap energy alternatives.
The goal is very ambitious and could be a great idea to mitigate climate change fast. Nowadays, a kilowatt from coal-fired plants is priced at 6 cents when electricity from renewables costs between 11 and 21 cents.
Coal is the most emitting energy sources and is still very used in the United States and many other countries.
So, replacing coal-fired plants by renewable energy sources would make Google greener, and the world as well.
Further reading :
- New York Times : Google’s Next Frontier, Renewable Energy ;
- The Guardian : Google aims to make renewables cheaper than coal ;
En Français :
- Le Figaro : Google investit dans les énergies renouvelables.