Google Investing Huge Sums in Renewable Energy and is Hiring

Posted on November 27, 2007  Comments (12)

Towards more renewable energy posted to Google’s blog by Larry Page, Co-Founder and President of Products:

Promising technologies already exist that could be developed to deliver renewable energy cheaper than coal. We think the time is ripe to build rapidly on the tremendous work on renewable energy. For example, I believe that solar thermal technology provides a very plausible path to generating cheaper electricity. By combining talented technologists, great partners and large investments, we have an opportunity to quickly push this technology forward. Our goal is to build 1 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic that this can be done within years, not decades. If we succeed, it would likely provide a path to replacing a substantial portion of the world’s electricity needs with renewable energy sources.

To lead this effort, we’re looking for a world-class team. We need creative and motivated entrepreneurs and technologists with expertise in a broad range of areas, including materials science, physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, land acquisition and management, power transmission and substations, construction, and regulatory issues. Join us. And if you’re interested, read about our previous work toward a clean energy future

Very cool. And I think something Google might be able to pull off well. It is also true this may be a distraction and not work well. For many companies that would be my guess for how it would play out. Google has done an exceptional job of allowing engineers to do what they do best. And I think there is a chance they can translate that into effectively managing such a project as this. Google continues to try what they believe even if that is not the conventional path. Good for them.

Related: posts on energyposts on Google managementGoogle’s cheaper-than-coal targetWind PowerLarge-Scale, Cheap Solar Electricity12 Stocks for 10 Years UpdateLarry Page and Sergey Brin Interview WebcastGoogle’s Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (press release)

Google’s big bet on renewable energy

Google Inc. said it is earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars in developing renewable energy, as part of an ambitious plan to clean the environment by reducing the world’s dependency on coal. The Mountain View Internet titan said Tuesday that it will open its deep pockets to foster innovation in solar, wind, and geothermal power, with the hope that green energy becomes a cheaper way to generate electricity.

As part of the initiative, Google said that it will invest tens of millions of dollars in renewable energy, spread over research and development and related investments, in 2008. “Solar isn’t currently cheaper than coal,” Larry Page, Google’s co-founder said in a conference call. “That’s the point of this – to get it there.” Google, which dubbed the project “Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal,” stands to benefit from cheaper electricity by reducing the costs of running of its vast data centers, which suck up large amounts of energy. Executives declined to discuss the exact amount electricity used in the facilities.

Google also hopes to license any technology spawned from the project to other companies so that they too can reduce their reliance of more polluting forms of energy while saving money. Google raised the possibility that it will collect licensing, but co-founder Sergey Brin insisted that the goal isn’t to rake in big profits.

As part of its plan, Google intends to hire engineers and energy experts, who will start work on what the company described as a “significant effort on solar thermal technology” in addition to geothermal energy. Google has pledged to become carbon neutral as a company by the end of the year.

12 Responses to “Google Investing Huge Sums in Renewable Energy and is Hiring”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Geothermal Power in Alaska
    February 23rd, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

    165 F water, pumped three-quarters of a mile from Chena’s 700-ft.-deep production well, enters the evaporator. After circulating through pipes, the water, now 135 F, is reinjected into the reservoir at a well 300 ft. from the power plant…

  2. CuriousCat: Larry Page on How to Change the World
    April 30th, 2008 @ 11:21 am

    “There’s a reason we talk about 70/20/10, where 70% of our resources are spent in our core business and 10% end up in unrelated projects, like energy or whatever…”

  3. Nadine
    June 28th, 2008 @ 6:08 am

    I’m glad to see google spending there money on something usefull. This is highly needed, and i dont even want to talk about consequenses.

  4. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Invests $10 million in Geothermal Energy
    August 19th, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

    […] Google is investing huge sums in renewable energy with the aim of cheaper than coal renewable energy. (the philanthropic arm of Google) announced $10.25 million in investments in a breakthrough energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). […]

  5. Anonymous
    October 4th, 2008 @ 1:07 am

    I’m tired of always hearing about how things are GOING to change and how in ‘this’ many years ‘this’ is going to happen. Why can’t world attention shift from a focal point like war to something more productive like our earth and the air we breath? It’s frustrating to know just how easy it would be for all the powerful decision makers in the world to come together and actually make a change that benefits everyone. Oil is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, and because the demand for energy will always exist, all of the key players in this industry could simply reinvest a 1/3 of their profits back into building sustainable energy farms, and gradually shift their profit sources to much cleaner ones, as the demand for energy will stay the same, their is no reason the source cannot change.

  6. Google's Energy Interests at Curious Cat Investing Blog
    December 6th, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

    With most companies I would be very skeptical delving into area pretty far removed from their core business would likely not prove an effective strategy. But I believe Google can be successful with such efforts…

  7. Anonymous
    January 6th, 2009 @ 6:54 am

    What a great inititaive set by Google!
    It seems that now that they’ve conquered the net, they want to move to even more lucrative business opportunities.

    Google is reknown for making things better for the public – so…
    Perhaps in a few years Google will be our green power supplier of choice 🙂

  8. Anonymous
    April 26th, 2009 @ 12:22 am

    It is now April of 2009, many that followed their guts and invested in renewable energy are now reaping a big profit. With the huge incentive from the United State Govt. they should be jumping for joy as more money role their way. It is not too late to join with your money and ‘technical know how’

  9. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Google’s Self Driving Car
    October 12th, 2010 @ 7:16 am

    […] thinks big. Google thinks like engineers. Google is willing to spend money taking on problems that other companies don’t. They have been developing a car that can drive […]

  10. Google Invests $168 million in Largest Solar Tower Power Project » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    April 12th, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    a new solar tower power project located in California that will generate 392 gross MW of clean, solar energy. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road…

  11. Antigone
    April 15th, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

    Personally I want to contribute to the field of renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.). What field of engineering would be most beneficial…. I was thinking Electrical or Environmental Engineering…. Any suggestions?

  12. Loon – Balloon Enabled Internet » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    June 15th, 2013 @ 9:31 am

    If they can get it to work they plan to use ballons to provide wireless internet access to hundreds of millions, or even billions, of people that don’t have access now. These ballons would float about 20 km above earth in the stratosphere (so well above where commercial airline traffic) and they are really playing a role somewhat like to satellites…

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