Invests $10 million in Geothermal Energy

Posted on August 19, 2008  Comments (4)

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).

EGS expands the potential of geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. The traditional geothermal approach relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam and hot water. The EGS process, by comparison, replicates these conditions by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine.

A recent MIT report on EGS estimates that just 2% of the heat below the continental United States between 3 and 10 kilometers, depths within the range of current drilling technology, is more than 2,500 times the country’s total annual energy use.

“EGS could be the ‘killer app’ of the energy world. It has the potential to deliver vast quantities of power 24/7 and be captured nearly anywhere on the planet. And it would be a perfect complement to intermittent sources like solar and wind,” said Dan Reicher, Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives for

Google’s Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative focuses on solar thermal power, advanced wind, EGS and other potential breakthrough technologies. Google has set a goal to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity, enough to power a city the size of San Francisco, in years, not decades. announced funding for two companies and a university:

* AltaRock Energy: $6.25 million investment to develop innovative technologies to achieve significant cost reductions and improved performance in EGS projects.
* Potter Drilling: $4 million investment in two tranches, to develop new approaches to lower the cost and expand the range of deep hard rock drilling, a critical element to large-scale deployment of EGS.
* Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab: $489,521 grant to improve understanding of the size and distribution of geothermal energy resources and to update geothermal mapping of North America.

Google has taken concrete steps to reduce its carbon footprint and accelerate improvements in green technology, including:

* Developing cutting-edge energy efficiency technology to power and cool its data centers in the U.S. and around the world using 50% less energy than the industry standard
* Generating electricity for its Mountain View campus from a 1.6 megawatt corporate solar panel installation, one of the largest in the U.S.
* Accelerating development and adoption of plug-in electric vehicles through the RechargeIT initiative

Related: Full press releaseData Center Energy NeedsGeothermal Power in Alaskaposts on energy

4 Responses to “ Invests $10 million in Geothermal Energy”

  1. Anonymous
    August 25th, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

    I’m anxious to see the results of this investment. If googles wants to try the experiment on someone’s home they are welcomed to try it on mine to see if it will support all my electrical power needs. There are people all over now working on various ways to cut the use our dependency on oil and to help the US go green. Not only large companies like Google but individuals are trying different ways. This is the way the US was founded Americans working together to make as difference.

  2. Anonymous
    February 13th, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

    If you want a piece of the investment, check out the Cleantech Open Business Plan competition. Google is a sponsor there.

  3. Google Invests $168 million in Largest Solar Tower Power Project » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    April 15th, 2011 @ 8:26 am

    […] Google Investing Huge Sums in Renewable Energy and is Hiring – Invests $10 million in Geothermal Energy – Google’s Energy Interests – Molten Salt Solar Reactor Approved by California […]

  4. Jonathan Winter
    August 12th, 2014 @ 4:27 am

    Here is a good article on advantages and disadvantages of Geothermal for the home. This is different that digging deep into the earth for steam but a good read none the less.

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