Feeds

Google wants to make renewable power cheaper than coal

Plans to spend several thousandths of ad revenue

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.