What Happened to Google’s Renewable Energy Plan?


Why Google halted its research into renewable energy

Vox, November 19, 2014

Back in 2007, Google had a very simple idea for addressing global warming — we just need to take existing renewable-energy technologies and keep improving them until they were as cheap as fossil fuels. And, voila! Problem solved.

That was the logic behind the company’s RE-C project, which aimed to produce one gigawatt of renewable electricity for less than the price of coal. The hope was to do this within years, not decades. Among other things, the company invested in new geothermal drilling R&D and put $168 million toward Brightsource’s Ivanpah solar tower in the Mojave Desert.

By 2011, however, Google decided that this energy initiative wasn’t going to work out as planned and shut things down. Unlike, say, Google Glass or self-driving cars, Google wasn’t interested in this particular moon shot. So what happened?

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