Google Axes ‘Renewables Cheaper than Coal’ Project
Google is abandoning efforts to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, the company blogged yesterday.
The internet giant said is cancelling seven projects, including the aptly named Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative, in a bout of “spring cleaning.” These projects haven’t had the impact Google was hoping for, senior vice president of operations Urs Hölzle wrote.
Google also said that other institutions are in a better position to take forward RE<C’s research.
The company has published results from the initiative, to help others in the field continue to advance power tower technology. And it says it will continue other clean energy and efficiency efforts, including renewable energy procurement, data center efficiency projects and over $850 million investment in renewable energy technologies.
RE<C was the only one of the seven projects connected to energy or the environment.
Reuters said Google has been doing research to drive down the cost of renewable energy since 2007. Two years ago, Google’s then-green energy czar, Bill Weihl, predicted that the company would only take a few years to develop renewable technology that could produce electricity more cheaply than coal.
Wiehl stepped down from his post on November 8 of this year.
Yesterday’s cancellations constitute the third round of spring cleaning since Google co-founder Larry Page took over in April. In June, Google said it was terminating PowerMeter, a tool for monitoring energy usage. That application “didn’t catch on the way we would have hoped,” the company said.
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