Google Aims to Make Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal Power

December 5, 2007

Can a company that built its reputation on software tools and computer server farms parlay that expertise into a clean energy revolution? Google believes that it can. The company plans to spend tens of millions of dollars on both renewable energy research and development and related investments in 2008, with the goal of making renewable energy less expensive than coal power. That goal is embodied in the name of the new initiative, "RE<C," which will initially focus on advanced solar thermal power, wind power, enhanced geothermal systems, and other potential breakthrough technologies. RE<C is currently hiring engineers and energy experts to achieve those goals.

RE<C will be part of Google's commercial enterprise, but it will also work with Google's philanthropic arm, is currently teamed up with two companies that could have potential for RE<C: eSolar, Inc., which envisions combining many 25-megawatt solar power tower facilities to form large solar power plants; and Makani Power Inc., which envisions capturing high-altitude winds through some type of aerial wind turbine. See the Google press release, the Google Clean Energy Web page, and the Web sites for eSolar and Makani Power.