Google's power plan
Google says the U.S. can be coal- and oil-free by 2030, and it's putting 45 million dollars where its mouth is.
Google, the online search engine, has always had lofty ambitions. Founded a decade ago, the company name was derived from the mathematical term googol, g-o-o-g-o-l, or ten to the 100th power. That's a number larger than all the elementary particles in the universe. Well, now the Web search company is again reaching for the stars. Google says the U.S. can be coal- and oil-free by 2030, and it's putting 45 million dollars where its mouth is.
Dan Reicher is Google's Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives: "Well, you know, at Google we really have brought together the opportunity to both do well and do good here. We really do believe that we and others can make money at this — really moving clean energy technology into the commercial sector. We'll also be solving many of these energy and climate problems we have."
According to Reicher, in order to do this: "First, we've got to keep the demand for electricity flat, instead of it growing twenty or twenty-five percent over the next twenty plus years. Secondly, we do need to replace coal-generated electricity with clean electricity from renewables. And third, we strongly feel we've gotta increase the use of plug-in vehicles. Major car companies from Toyota to General Motors to others are actually coming out with plug-in vehicles. What we want to do at Google is make sure in fact, that the grid is ready for that."
Reicher says Google can take advantage of its online resources: "We think there's all sorts of ways that we can both get information to people and also give them the ability to control their energy use, to monitor their energy use day to day. It's a very primitive situation today where all you hear from your utility is this once-a-month paper electricity and gas bill. It gives you very little sense about what you can actually do to control that energy use. The ability to go online, interact with people, help them control their appliances and equipment in their own homes, better assess what their cars are doing at any given moment -- We think there's big big opportunities there for Google and lots of other information technology companies."
Hosted by Steve Curwood, "Living on Earth" is an award-winning environmental news program that delves into the leading issues affecting the world we inhabit. More "Living on Earth.
PRI's coverage of social entrepreneurship is supported by the Skoll Foundation.