GOOGLE ON WHY NEW ENERGY
Google: Clean-energy innovation pays off
Martin LaMonica, June 28, 2011 (CNET)
"Google's philanthropy Google.org…released an analysis on the impact of clean-energy innovation that is at once optimistic and sobering…The Internet company has made it a corporate goal to be carbon neutral and promote green technologies, putting some of its employees on the forefront of thinking on how to speed clean-energy technology development.
"…[I]ts study found that technology breakthroughs, coupled with policies to encourage clean energy, will have a positive economic and environmental impact, more so than policies alone. It also found speed is a key lever in delivering benefits…A
mere five-year delay (2010-2015) in accelerating technology innovation [could lead] to $2.3 trillion to $3.2 trillion in unrealized GDP, an aggregate 1.2-1.4 million net unrealized jobs, and 8-28 more gigatons of potential GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2050…"
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"The analysis, based on economic models from consulting company McKinsey, highlights the potential of clean-energy technologies to affect multiple societal problems…[B]reakthrough innovations in clean energy [could add] $155 billion per year in GDP, creating 1.1 million net jobs, while reducing household energy costs by $942 per year, oil consumption by 1.1 billion barrels per year, and carbon emissions 13% by 2030…"
"…[The Impact of Clean Energy Innovation; Examining the Impact of Clean Energy Innovation on the United States Energy System and Economy] delves into specific areas--electric vehicles, power from renewable sources, grid storage, and natural gas--to estimate when cleaner alternatives to oil and coal can compete based on price alone. For example, it projects that a breakthrough in electric-vehicle battery cost by 2018 would make the total cost of ownership for EVs with a 125-mile range lower than gasoline cars."
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"But the study's authors, by their own admission, make some optimistic assumptions regarding new technology adoption. They assume that the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles will follow consumer demand and that transmission lines for large-scale renewable-energy projects will be built, though that is a challenging siting and regulatory issue…[T]he study underscores the role technology can play…[but also] shows policies are critically…For example, better EV batteries can create a tipping point that will drive mass adoption, but cheap natural gas could stall EV adoption…
"On the power generation side, fully amortized coal plants are very tough to compete with on the cost per kilowatt-hour alone, it noted. The study projects that even with technical breakthroughs, renewable-power generation would not compete with the marginal cost of coal until after 2030…"