Google Gets Energetic
The search advertising company sent one of its public policy mavens to Washington DC to talk about energy technology, and call for better federal support for new initiatives in that field.
Google holds a vested interest in efficient, cost effective energy sources. Electricity fuels the company’s numerous banks of servers and data centers. Higher energy costs mean less profit.
It’s an issue that pushed the company into places like The Dalles, Oregon, east of Portland. Hydroelectricity served as the draw for Google, as well as other big names in tech like Microsoft.
There’s only so many places where one can drop a server farm next to a hydroelectric plant. A need for better alternatives persists; these days, oil baron T. Boone Pickens calls for wind power, for example.
Google wants the federal government to do more on the side of alternative energy. Their Google.org Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, Dan Reicher, told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee a two-pronged effort will help this:
First, he argued that legislation aimed at spurring clean technology deployment must focus on financing promising high-risk projects in their early stages, so that they make it through the investment “Valley of Death” between the pilot project stage and full-scale commercial implementation. Second, he explained that a secondary market for energy project loans, and government-sponsored loan guarantees would make lending in this space more attractive.
We won’t be surprised to see other tech companies start boosting this effort, as they expand and compete for similar resources like access to the Oregon site. The Internet’s resources have almost become a necessity for millions, and anything that keeps the lights on less expensively gets top marks from us.