Google Gets Into Energy Biz

While Google's archrivals have always been Microsoft and Yahoo, you can now start adding electric companies to the list. By now, you've no doubt heard of Google's latest initiative, dubbed "Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal." This is big news. The company will be hiring scientists and engineers to develop new approaches to generating and storing solar, wind and geothermal energy.

The first work will be on solar thermal energy. Google's plans call for using mirrors to redirect sunlight to solar panels, then using the heat energy to generate steam. Nothing like saving a little energy for a rainy day. Wind and geothermal initiatives will follow shortly thereafter.

In a prepared statement released during this massive press blast, Google co-founder Larry Page says, "Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades."

If anyone can execute on such a grand plan and such a corporate reinvention, it's got to be Google. Google first got interested in power generation and energy management projects while designing its massive data centers. Google also already has one of the nation's largest solar cell arrays at its corporate headquarters.

Lately, we've taken Microsoft to task for trying to be too many things to too many people. What do you think of Google's new direction? This is much more than merely dominating the search-engine world or doing battle with online apps. On the other hand, the company has the smarts and the cash to make it happen. Think we'll be writing checks for our electric bills payable to Google any time soon? Plug in and let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Lafe Low on November 28, 2007 at 11:57 AM