Google’s Goal: Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal
Creates renewable energy R&D group and supports breakthrough technologies
Mountain View, Calif. (November 27, 2007) – Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced a new strategic initiative to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal. The newly created initiative, known as RE<C, will focus initially on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, enhanced geothermal systems and other potential breakthrough technologies. RE<C is hiring engineers and energy experts to lead its research and development work, which will begin with a significant effort on solar thermal technology, and will also investigate enhanced geothermal systems and other areas.In 2008, Google expects to spend tens of millions on research and development and related investments in renewable energy. As part of its capital planning process, the company also anticipates investing hundreds of millions of dollars in breakthrough renewable energy projects which generate positive returns.
"We have gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building efficient data centers," said Larry Page, Google Co-founder and President of Products. "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."
Page added, "There has been tremendous work already on renewable energy. Technologies have been developed that can mature into industries capable of providing electricity cheaper than coal. Solar thermal technology, for example, provides a very plausible path to providing renewable energy cheaper than coal. We are also very interested in further developing other technologies that have potential to be cost-competitive and green. We are aware of several promising technologies, and believe there are many more out there."
Page continued, "With talented technologists, great partners and significant investments, we hope to rapidly push forward. 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." (One gigawatt can power a city the size of San Francisco.)
"If we meet this goal," said Page, "and large-scale renewable deployments are cheaper than coal, the world will have the option to meet a substantial portion of electricity needs from renewable sources and significantly reduce carbon emissions. We expect this would be a good business for us as well."
Coal is the primary power source for many around the world, supplying 40% of the world’s electricity. The greenhouse gases it produces are one of our greatest environmental challenges. Making electricity produced from renewable energy cheaper than coal would be a key part of reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions.
"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," added Sergey Brin, Google Co-founder and President of Technology.
Strategic Investments and Grants
"Lots of groups are doing great work trying to produce inexpensive renewable energy. We want to add something that moves these efforts toward even cheaper technologies a bit more quickly. 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.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, "Google.org’s hope is that by funding research on promising technologies, investing in promising new companies, and doing a lot of R&D ourselves, we may help spark a green electricity revolution that will deliver breakthrough technologies priced lower than coal."
Working with RE<C, Google.org will make strategic investments and grants that demonstrate a path toward producing energy at an unsubsidized cost below that of coal-fired power plants. Google will work with a variety of organizations in the renewable energy field, including companies, R&D laboratories, and universities. For example, Google.org is working with two companies that have promising scalable energy technologies:
- eSolar Inc., a Pasadena, CA-based company specializing in solar thermal power which replaces the fuel in a traditional power plant with heat produced from solar energy. eSolar’s technology has great potential to produce utility-scale power cheaper than coal. For more information, please visit www.google.com/corporate/green/energy/esolar.pdf.
- Makani Power Inc., an Alameda, CA-based company developing high-altitude wind energy extraction technologies aimed at harnessing the most powerful wind resources. High-altitude wind energy has the potential to satisfy a significant portion of current global electricity needs. For more information on Makani Power, please visit www.google.com/corporate/green/energy/makani.pdf.
Today’s announcement represents just the latest steps in Google’s commitment to a clean and green energy future.
Google has been working hard on energy efficiency and making its business environmentally sustainable. Last spring the company announced its intention to be carbon neutral for 2007, and is on track to meet that goal. To this end, the company 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.
- 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 vehicles through the RechargeIT initiative, including a $10 million request for investment proposals ( www.google.org/recharge/)
- Joining with other industry leaders in 2007 to form the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a consortium that advocates the design and use of more energy-efficient computers and servers ( www.climatesaverscomputing.org/).
- Working on policies that encourage renewable energy development and deployment, such as a U.S. Renewable Energy Standard, through Google.org.
For more information on Google’s commitment to a clean energy future, see www.google.com/renewable-energy
For broadcast-standard video and other multimedia files for the announcement, see www.google.com/intl/en/press/index.html
For more information on recruitment for RE<C, see www.google.com/jobs/energy/
Webcast and Conference Call Information
Google’s renewable energy initiative call begins today at 9:00 AM (PT) / 12:00 PM (ET). A replay of the call will be available beginning at 11:30 PM (ET) today through midnight Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 by calling 888-203-1112 in the United States or 719-457-0820 for calls from outside the United States. The required confirmation code for the replay is 2205214.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including statements relating to our ability to develop cheaper electricity from renewable energy sources, our expected investments and capital expenditures, and our ability to accelerate the development of clean energy technologies. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ include, among others, risks related to our ability to hire the appropriate people and our ability to identify and pursue the technologies necessary to achieve these goals, as well as those risks and uncertainties included under the captions "Risk Factors" and "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2007, which is on file with the SEC and is available on our investor relations website at investor.google.comand on the SEC website atwww.sec.gov. All information provided in this release is as of November 27, 2007, and Google undertakes no duty to update this information.
About Google Inc.
Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit www.google.com.
Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, uses the power of information to help people better their lives. We develop and invest in tools and partnerships that can help bring shared knowledge to bear on the world’s most pressing challenges in the areas of climate change, economic development and global health. For more information, visit www.google.org.