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Google gives up on saving world from cheap coal energy

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Google has announced that it's abandoning its plans to save the planet by making renewable energy cheaper than coal.

The Chocolate Factory's RE<C plan is getting ditched because "at this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level", the official Google blog said.

The news comes at the end of a list of initiatives getting the chop in the web giant's "spring cleaning series".

When the project was announced back in 2007, Google was promising to spend tens of millions of dollars on making cleaner energy cheaper than traditional coal.

"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 at the time.

"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," his buddy Larry Page enthused.

Clearly, it wasn't as easy as they thought, since despite spending $10m to kickstart geothermal power, dropping $38.8m into two American wind farms and sinking an unknown sum into the $5bn Atlantic Wind Connection project, Google still hasn't quite solved the whole energy problem.

Never fear though, the search behemoth is going to publish all its results here "to help others in the field continue to advance the state of power technology".

And Google will still try to keep itself clean by getting renewable energy for its datacentres and investing over $850m in renewable energy technologies. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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