Feeds

Google wants to make renewable power cheaper than coal

Plans to spend several thousandths of ad revenue

Top three mobile application threats

Google.org, "the philanthropic arm of Google", plans to sink some of the company's billions in ad fees into advancing renewable energy technology. The aim is to make cleanly-generated electricity cheaper than that derived from burning coal.

In classic Googley style, the new plan is called RE<C. Google says it will plough in "tens of millions" in 2008.

"Cheap renewable energy is not only critical for the environment but also vital for economic development in many places where there is limited affordable energy of any kind," Google co-founder Sergey Brin said.

Google's founders believe the firm's experience in data centres and bot-vs-bot advertising mean this relatively small investment will nonetheless overturn the established energy economy in short order.

"We have gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building efficient data centres," said Larry Page, Brin's partner.

"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... Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades."

The technologies favoured by the online ad billionaires are those with few or no visible downsides except cost. The ploy most favoured is solar thermal, in which the sun's rays are used to produce heat and generate power using conventional turbines, rather than being turned straight to electricity in expensive solar cells.

Solar thermal is not a new idea - substantial plants have been operating in California since the 1980s, though their original developer went bankrupt in 1991 - but there are various solar thermal ideas that haven't been tried on a large scale. Google also plans to sink cash into Geothermal efforts, taking power ultimately from the Earth's hot core.

"Usual investment criteria may not deliver the super low-cost, clean, renewable energy soon enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change," said Dr Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google's philanthropic arm.

"If we meet this goal ...we expect this would be a good business for us as well," said Page. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.