Posted November 27, 2007 1:50 pm by with 9 comments

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Today’s press conference with Google was big on dreams but short on details. It had an all-encompassing feel but it was difficult to pin down. Google spends a lot of energy and cash running data centers. They have a social conscience. They also have a huge economic incentive to save money. Since they do have a more progressive outlook, they hope their solutions can save more than money – but save the planet. Ambitious isn’t it. working with funds from stock are expanding their reach to develop renewable technology – specifically solar thermal, wind, and geothermal energy. They’ve already done a lot in this area and they want to not only continue but expand what they’ve done. The message really is: cheap, clean energy for the masses. They see this as a driving force to development and for helping solve problems of poverty and climate change.

The initiative is called RE<C and Google plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into it. Their goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. A concrete, measurable goal – and the timeframe isn’t set but it is aggressive: “We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades,” says Larry Page, Co-founder and President of Products at Google. He noted that one gigawatt of power is enough for a city the size of San Francisco.

What I like hearing is that they want to move from being energy consumers to energy producers and licensees. A goal that is admirable and one I’d love to achieve. They announced two companies that they are already partnering with – eSolar for solar power and Makani Power for wind power.

Though asked there really isn’t a concrete product or answers as to how exactly this will work, they revealed their intentions. Mostly they reviewed their accomplishments and set forth their vision, like Google does.

There were a few specifics: they will hire engineers and are looking for people to join the effort – perhaps 20-30 new employees in the next year or two.

Google is open to acquiring companies, partnerships, and other ways to expand this initiative. Also, they were clear that hydro energy (not enough capacity) and nuclear (Surgey said this should be privately funded) are not possibilities.

Here are a few of the jobs they’ve listed so far. What is phenomenal about this dream that has become a goal is that Google can actually accomplish. It’s a goal I’ll be watching with great interest.

  • If coal burners had to pay for the carbon that they pumped into the atmosphere, then renewables would already be cheaper. This is a major flaw in our system. Dumping waste into the commons is basically subsidized by the people instead of charged to the polluter.

  • homer

    They have a social conscience??? Next time you see Larry Page or Surgey how many thousands of pounds of fossil fuel per hour it takes to run each of their 757s and their new 767.
    They could ground their planes and contribute greatly to reducing pollution and using up our non-renewable resources.

  • Pingback: Google RE<C()

  • Janet Meiners

    @homer – I disagree with your thinking. First, Google the company is different than Google’s founders.
    I’d never discourage a company or an individual from doing something valuable in the world because in another area of their business or life they fall short.
    Past success or perfection is not a pre-requisite for doing something amazing right now.
    Maybe sometime they can take on finding alternatives to fossil fuel for their jets.
    What I don’t think you can argue: their leadership is commendable.

  • Google is everywhere!! But this has to be a really commendable venture if does get off the ground.

  • Google is very forward looking which is good

  • Any initiative towards renewable energy is to be applauded in my book. Google has shown their interest in being a green company for as long as I can remember and this is another logical step for them.

    Will they be able to pull this off? I don’t know, but I do know I’ll be rooting for them.

    @homer – I think you’re being unfairly critical of Google. By your same logic you could argue that Google should just shut down completely since that would save all the energy it currently takes to run their servers.

    No one and no company is perfect. Let’s give Google credit for trying to be part of the solution.

  • Very admirable…. kudos to google! well done!

  • Renewable Energy Is The Future. but google….

    ZalmEnergy’s last blog post..What Is Photovoltaic Effect?