Google aims to make electricity derived from the wind and sun and other renewable sources of energy cheaper than burning coal, and the Web search giant has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars toward the effort, including tens of millions in 2008. It didn’t release specific figures, but it did set the goal of producing enough electricity to power San Francisco in “years not decades.”
The initiative will focus first on solar thermal power, wind power and geothermal systems.
Depending on how fast Google spends its money, its investment could rival the federal government’s investment in renewable energy. A Government Accountability Office report found that Department of Energy spending on research and development of biomass, wind and solar energy sources totaled just $65 million in 2006. (Since this was posted this morning, the folks over at reddit have identified other Department of Energy budget documents that make the GAO estimate seem far too low, with $1.16 billion being appropriated for energy efficiency and renewable energy in 2006, and $1.24 billion requested for 2008.)
Google Inc has abandoned an ambitious project to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, the latest target of Chief Executive Larry Page’s moves to focus the Internet giant on fewer efforts.
Google said on Tuesday that it was pulling the plug on seven projects, including Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal as well as a Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia service known as Knol.
Google began making investments and doing research into technology to drive down the price of renewable energy in 2007, with a particular focus on solar power technology.
In 2009, the company’s so-called Green Energy Czar, Bill Weihl, told Reuters that he expected to demonstrate within a few years working technology that could produce renewable energy at a cheaper price than coal.
“It is even odds, more or less,” Weihl said at the time. “In three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out there.”
I for one am very glad that Google was NOT able to defy the laws of Nature and Physics.(that would be doing evil)
Greenies need to finally understand that converting wind, bio mass or the sun into useable energy for HUMANS cannot be done cheaper and more efficiently then burning coal !!!!!