Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/02/google_energy_plan_proposal/

Google to save US from fossil fuels

'Let life imitate Mountain View'

By Austin Modine

Posted in Science, 2nd October 2008 19:01 GMT

And we thought Google's work with NASA and private space entrepreneurs was part of a secret plan to escape the Earth before it's too late.

Turns out the leading internet ad firm has been devising a plan to save those stuck planet-side as well.

Google controls between 55 and 65 percent of the search market--and its share is growing.

In case Google's work with mobile phones, word processing, web browsers, disease prevention, encyclopedias, email, watercraft, cartography, and humanitarian aide hasn't driven home Google's aspirations to have its hand in absolutely everything, try a new $4.4 trillion energy plan on for size.

Google unveiled the first iteration of its Clean Energy 2030 plan yesterday, designed to wean the US off coal and oil for electricity generation over the course of 22 years. The company said its energy team has been "crunching the numbers" and expects its proposal could cut oil use for cars by 40 per cent, generate billions of dollars in savings, and create millions of well-paying green jobs.

Its initial goal is to stimulate debate and invite the public to take a look and offer comment.

"With a new Administration and Congress — and multiple energy-related imperatives — this is an opportune, perhaps unprecedented, moment to move from plan to action."

To get there, Google said, the US needs to move immediately on three fronts:

Energy efficiency: "We should start with the low-hanging fruit by reducing energy demand through energy efficiency — adopting technologies and practices that allow us to do more with less."

Data centers and personal computers must both be made more energy efficient. Google also recommends the US should adopt California's aggressive building codes, efficiency standards, and utility programs. It also calls for homes to be equipped with "smart meters" to provide real-time energy use data to encourage people to use less power.

Find something better than coal: Google believes at least three renewable energy technologies show promise to become price-competitive with coal: wind, solar thermal, and advanced geothermal.

"We must dramatically increase federal R&D and enact measures supporting the rapid deployment and scaling of clean technologies such as long-term tax support and national renewable energy standards," Google wrote.

Drivin' too: Electric Bugaloo: "Image driving a car that uses no gas and is less expensive to recharge than buying a latte."

Google brags that it already owns a "small fleet" of Toyota Prius and Ford Escape plug-in conversions as a part of its rechargeable car program. But for those kind of cars to catch on outside of the hallowed grounds of the Googleplex, the company said the US needs a smart grid that manages when we charge and how we're billed.

Google states that much of the US's current electric grid was developed in the 60s and is "wasteful and not very smart." It claims to be doing its part by partnering with General Electric to help accelerate the development of a smart grid and building new power lines.

All-in-all, Google expects the cost of its Clean Energy 2030 proposal will cost about $4.4 trillion dollars. It expects savings of $5.4 trillion however, returning a cool $1 trillion over the 22-year life of the plan.

A detailed view of the proposal is available here. ®