Google invests in renewable energy initiative
Google intends to make renewable power cheaper than coal, by investing tens of millions of dollars in 2008 on research and development.
Google is currently hiring engineers for the project, called Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal, which will focus on solar thermal, wind and geothermal technologies.
The company already owns one of the largest solar cell installations in the US, the 1.6 Megawatt installation at its Mountain View campus.
The announcement builds on Google’s existing commitment to become carbon neutral in 2007, a goal which it claims it is on track to achieve.
“We have gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building efficient data centres,” says Larry Page, Google co-founder.
“We want to apply the same creativity and innovation to the challenge of generating renewable electricity at globally significant scale, and produce it cheaper than from coal.”
“With talented technologists, great partners and significant investments, we hope to rapidly push forward. Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal,” says Page.
Coal currently provides 40% of the world’s electricity, but is an enormous source of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Lots of groups are doing great work trying to produce inexpensive renewable energy. We want to add something that moves these efforts toward even cheaper technologies a bit more quickly.”
“Usual investment criteria may not deliver the super low-cost, clean, renewable energy soon enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” says Dr Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org.