Google, HP Invest Big in Renewables

GreenBiz News provides some good news for green-necks. Good news is always welcome!

Link: GreenBiz News | Google, HP Invest Big in Renewables.

Hoping to spur a green power revolution, Google plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in developing renewable energy that costs less than conventional coal-fired electricity, the company announced Tuesday.

Meanwhile, HP also said Tuesday it is delving deeper into renewables by building a solar power installation at a San Diego, Calif., facility and buying enough renewable energy in Ireland to satisfy 90 percent of its needs there.

Google’s R&D initiative, Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal, will explore advanced renewable technologies, such as solar thermal, wind, enhanced geothermal, and other potent breakthroughs in its quest to produce one gigawatt – – enough to power a city the size of San Francisco — in "years, not decades," said Google Co-Founder Larry Page.

Cheap and plentiful coal is responsible for about 40 percent of world power generation and is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions.

Page told the Associated Press the company wants to bring down the cost of solar power by 25 percent to 50 percent. The company is now hiring engineers and energy experts to lead the research and development, first focusing on solar thermal technology and enhanced geothermal systems.

Google’s foundation, Google.org, will work with the initiative to spend "tens of millions of dollars" on research next year, with hundreds of millions more following for breakthrough renewable energy projects. Google’s foundation is reportedly sitting on a war chest of company stock totaling nearly $2 billion.

Already the foundation is working with eSolar Inc. of Pasadena, Calif., and Makani Power Inc. of Alameda, Calif., on promising technologies. eSolar specializes in solar thermal power which replaces the fuel in traditional power plants while Makani is developing high-altitude wind energy extraction technologies.

Google has already made forays into the renewable energy and alternative fuel arenas with the installation of a corporate 1.6 megawatt solar array on its Mountain View campus and a plug-in vehicle initiative designed to help bring the technologies to mass market.