Emerging Tech

Google, the energy company?

Google is taking its funds and innovation to back research in renewable energy sources, announcing an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars into projects that they hope will generate electricity at a cheaper price than coal.

Google is taking its funds and innovation to back research in renewable energy sources, announcing an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars into projects that they hope will generate electricity at a cheaper price than coal.

An excerpt from TechNewsWorld:

Google's initiative, which it has dubbed "RE<C" -- Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal -- will begin with a focus on solar thermal, wind power and geothermal technologies. The company expects to spend "tens of millions of dollars" on the push in 2008 and likely hundreds of millions over coming years.

"We have gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building efficient data centers," said Google co-founder Larry Page. "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."

While the Web search company's core competency is not energy, it takes more than code to organize all the information on the Web. Optimum power utilization and efficiency are the heart of managing the all of Google's information.

The initial goal is to generate 1 gigawatt of electricity from renewable sources. Google's philanthropic arm Google.org will be in charge of the project, which includes partnerships and investments in companies working on renewable energy projects.

And from Sergey Brin's interview with Richard Wray of Guardian, it does seem that Google is high on energy being another big avenue for revenue.

More information:

Google expands into alternative energy (AP)

Google has energy for new business (InternetNews)

Google plans to develop cheaper solar, wind power (Bloomberg)

Will Google's backing be a shot in the arm for green initiatives?

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15 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

materials alone would be a $250,000,000.00 cost, construction costs about another $5,000,000.00 - to $50,000,000.00 a geothermal power plant, generating 1 gigawatt of power. it ain't hard, the tech exists. it's getting the funding to build it. edit to add: and with a bit of thought, this does NOT have to be near hot springs, like they have done in Iceland.

mpaynter
mpaynter

It's interesting to me that Google is jumping on the "green" wagon for the future but appears to have done little to address their present "energy burn" in their data centers. Moving data centers to rural areas close to cheap energy doesn't reduce consumption it only improves their margins. The recent EPA report on the emerging data center crisis notes that companies such as Google need to work for greater efficiency by using available technologies such as "liquid cooling" that will reduce the energy requirements by as much as 25% for handling the heat produced by their servers. Future is great, future is sexy, future is good PR but NOW is important as well.

shardeth-15902278
shardeth-15902278

It is my understanding that they have made efforts to reduce consumption. One specific item I am aware of is the use of custom power supplies, which are correctly sized for their systems utilizaiton needs.

pr.arun
pr.arun

Will Google?s backing be a shot in the arm for green initiatives?

femijumo
femijumo

This is a welcome idea,it worths investing where demand is high and the universe is being chalenged

BOUND4DOOM
BOUND4DOOM

Look them up in Google earth, the roofs of all the Google location have huge solar arrays, if many other corporations would do that it would be great. I can not think of any other major wasted space that could be used for energy than the rooftops of many buildings. Look at an automotive plant it is literally acre of just barren roofs. Line those with solar panels and use it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You run fiberopp from recievers on the outside of the building to transfer the light to the inside of the building. I can't remember if it was Google or another company using them though so I could be completely off my cracker with this one.

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

One company can't diversify in to all these areas and expect to do a decent job while maintaining a decent profit line. That or 2050 is looking like 1984...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

They've diversified into every software niche the can find along with a few hardware areas and there products have never suffered poor quality.. er.. bwahaha.. I can't even finish that with a strait face.. :D Maybe Google's MBA's have something other company's BMA's don't have.. who knows.. if they can benefit some of these green initiatives then go Google go.. Now where is my flying car? That sucker's been backordered since 2000.

adelacuesta
adelacuesta

What will they think of next?... Make cars perhaps

pr.arun
pr.arun

:)

Fregeus
Fregeus

To me, the hybrid is not an economical issue. It never was. No hybrid company ever said that it would be cheaper to go hybrid. That's not the point. The point is to have an alternative fuel vehicule to save the atmosphere we got left. Anyways, the way things are going right now, i figure the 5$ a gallons gas will be here by christmas 2008. TCB

pr.arun
pr.arun

... I believe this is the very reason why more research has to go in this area to attract the best minds. Google's backing with the plush funding will hopefully make that a reality

bmacias
bmacias

Hybrid Cars are a great idea, but not to many people have done the cost vs benifit. Hybrid vehicles cost more up front, plus the batteries are very expensive. Only your frist replacement is covered under warranty after that you are on your own. Those things are not cheap. Gas has to be around $5 and you have do some serious driving to make it worth the money. It great in principal, but if your really green you would take alternative transportation such as public, walk, or cycle.

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