Google Takes The Lead With Clean Energy

    December 20, 2011

Google’s been taking up the green cause pretty strongly here at the end of 2011. Yesterday they announced an educational tool to help people learn more about the most popular green search trends over the past year and today they’ve announced another initiative.

Despite the fact that some people still believe that an energy crisis may not be worth taking seriously, Google isn’t waiting around for a definitive verdict and instead has thrown its considerable weight behind the development of renewable energy sources. With previous contributions toward the development of wind farms and solar power, they’ve made one more addition to their portfolio of clean energy technology investments. Today in a blog announcement, Google announced that it has funneled millions of dollars into the solar power industry in California. From their blog:

We’ve made a new $94 million investment in a portfolio of four solar photovoltaic (PV) projects being built by Recurrent Energy near Sacramento, California. This brings our portfolio of clean energy investments to more than $915 million. We’ve already committed to providing funding this year to help more than 10,000 homeowners install solar PV panels on their rooftops. But this investment represents our first investment in the U.S. in larger scale solar PV power plants that generate energy for the grid—instead of on individual rooftops. These projects have a total capacity of 88 MW, equivalent to the electricity consumed by more than 13,000 homes.

The announcement details the search engine giant’s partnership with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a global investment firm, and Recurrent Energy, a developer of solar energy technology, in order to make the most of the investment so that “clean energy projects continue to attract new sources of capital to help the world move towards a more sustainable energy future.”

This latest green investment brings Google’s total contributions to clean energy projects to a cool $880 million. At this point, that figure is hard to even grasp. It reminds me of that scene in one of those Austin Powers movies when Dr. Evil demands a ransom of $1 trillion and the U.S. government laughs at him and his made-up number. At this point, it’s all Monopoly money. Worse, thinking about that staggering sum of money and how much that can do for the industry of renewable energy is awkwardly humbling when you consider that it might not even slow down the coming energy crisis.

Still, hats off to Google for taking the lead on this dire problem. Hopefully it will other inspire other major league tech companies to pick up the cause, as well.