With concerns regarding the environment, global warming and pollution gaining momentum worldwide, Google has decided to lead by example and do what is expected of a socially conscientious company.
Google believes that it is possible to change to cleaner energy sources in a realistic time frame – by 2030 – while balancing the costs incurred in doing so with economic and social gains in the long run. They plan requires an investment of $4.4 trillion, which is about 40 times their current market capitalisation.
The leader of the team for this project, Jeffery Greenblatt, believes that it is possible to wean the U.S. away from coal and oil and more or less replace them with greener fuels like electricity by 2030, while also reducing the use of petroleum products for cars by 40%.
With a new administration set to take charge shortly, it is the right time to act on this important issue. Google believes that this project will not only save billions of dollars in years to come but will also generate several green jobs, even in states rich in coal and oil.
The search engine company has outlined 3 ways to achieve these lofty goals for an industry they have no experience in:
- Implement new technologies and methods by which more can be done using less fossil fuel. This basically involves designing equipment to run more efficiently and raising energy efficiency of electrical and electronic gadgets such as personal computers and servers, which usually waste nearly half of the energy they consume. It is also imperative for governments to enforce and aid this effort set by implementing better policies to minimise the use of energy and providing smart meters and real-time pricing to consumers to create awareness and thus reduce unnecessary consumption of energy.
- Develop renewable energy that is cheaper than coal. This goal is even loftier than the first. Google is trying to develop new forms of renewable energy at prices that are competitive with coal. At present, they believe that wind, solar thermal and geothermal energy have great potential, and since they are easily and abundantly available, it should be possible to use these all over the U.S.A. Google has already invested $45 million for this development, but that is peanuts compared to the investment needed. The government can help by increasing and encouraging research and development and giving long-term tax support to such initiatives.
- Electrify transport and re-invent the electric grid. With manufacturers like Toyota, GM and Ford, working to introduce electric cars over the next 2 years, this should soon be a reality. However, it will also be necessary to install a new smart grid that will allow users to recharge their cars when needed. Google is partnering with GE to help this development.
The Institute for 21st Century Energy has also tabled a “Blueprint for Securing America’s Energy Future”, with 75 policy recommendations, which if implemented would prove be very useful.