Monday, September 22, 2008

Building a future that's clean and green

The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors

At they have a saying about climate change: "A frog in water doesn't feel it boil in time. Dude, we are that frog."

It isn't very Googley to stand on the sidelines – whether the challenge involves search, apps, or clean energy. So we're working to be part of the solution. Specifically, we have embraced the challenge of developing a gigawatt of renewable electricity that is cheaper than electricity from coal – in years, not decades.(We call it RE<C. Not only is it a cool, nerdy name for the project, it breaks HTML pages everywhere.)

In ten years, we envision a cleaner, greener world -- running on wind, solar, and steam - with clean cars plugged into a clean grid. But for that vision to become real, the technologies to power it will have to be economically competitive -- otherwise they won't scale. So we are focusing much of our effort on technology innovation to drive down the costs of key renewable technologies. We are fundamentally optimists -- we believe that when innovative people focus on the right problems, they can find solutions. And when renewable energy is cheaper than fossil-based alternatives, and when plug-in hybrids are as cheap as traditional cars, they will take off in the marketplace.

Our company founders, Larry and Sergey, are engineers and when they encouraged our team to tackle this issue we knew they would prefer a technological approach. This summer, we welcomed at our Mountain View headquarters the first Google engineers dedicated exclusively to exploring the development of utility-scale clean energy at a price cheaper than coal.

But we need a thousand groups of engineers focused on developing renewable energy - not just the team we're building at Google. That means we need government to set the right incentives and regulatory environment to foster clean energy innovation and R&D. Our team is also working to advance a policy agenda that stimulates clean energy projects.

We're getting the word out about tax credits, government research funding, renewable portfolio standards, and the limitations of our current transmission grid. Our philanthropic arm is doing its part too. The climate team at is working to complement the work of our engineering team with grants and investments in clean energy projects. To date, we've invested over $45 million in breakthrough technologies like solar thermal, advanced wind, and enhanced geothermal systems.

It will take the concerted efforts of many -- but dude, we don't need to be that frog.

Link - from The Official Google Blog
Related: I got married... with Google More real-time quotes on Google Finance

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