After co-founding and building an internet titan, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have set out now a new mission – to help create “clean and affordable energy”.
Few would doubt or even raise an eyebrow on their and Google’s lofty goal “to build 1 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal.”
After all, they have proved that, as computer science students at Stanford University they could do more than daydream as they transformed their muse into a search giant that today can provide an answer to every query.
Last week, Page wrote a blog about the company’s new foray. In “Towards more renewable energy“, Page writes that “Our new initiative isn’t just about Google’s energy needs; we’re seeking to accelerate the pace at which clean energy technologies are developing, so they can rival the economics of coal quickly.”
Companies within Corporate America are already part of a group that is developing corporate markets for 1,000 MW of cost-effective green power utility by 2010 in the United States. Most of these affiliates are also users of renewable energy technologies. Alcoa uses certified low impact hydropower, DuPont and General Motors make use of landfill gas, while General Motors, Johnson & Johnson and Staples use Solar photovoltaic.
However, if the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Annual Energy Outlook 2006, that presents long-term forecasts of energy supply, demand and prices through 2030, is to be believed, renewable energy will always be superseded by nuclear power, coal and dry natural gas (See http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/0383(2006).pdf ) (Page 21), prompting critics to proclaim that the notion that making a company environmentally friendly and be cost-effective and profitable is a bunch of green lies.
What sets Google apart from the rest is its endeavor to go alone in creating 1 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity in years, if not decades. According to Bloomberg, while business leaders like General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt have asked for more openness on the cost of carbon emissions to steer green investment decisions, billionaire Ted Turner has said that clean energy may be the “biggest business opportunity there’s ever been.”
According to the International Energy Agency, a new accord on mitigating the effects of global warming that is expected to be released by 2012 will bring more clarity on the way $11.6 trillion are spent on new sources of power generation. Google’s Page and Brin may be following a sensible business strategy to capitalize on such a huge spend without compromising on their clean energy drive. Page writes: “If we succeed, it would likely provide a path to replacing a substantial portion of the world’s electricity needs with renewable energy sources.”