Today Google announced that it has made an equity investment of $75 million in a 50MW wind farm in Rippey, Iowa developed by RPM Access. According to Google this brings the company's committed investment to the renewable energy sector to more than $990 million. Additional information on these investments is available here.
On October 12, Google and Good Energies announced (Google blog post | Good Energies press release) that each had invested in the development stage of the Atlantic Wind Connection Backbone (AWC) Transmission Project. The specific dollar value of the investment wasn't disclosed, but each obtained a 37.5% stake. The New York Times reported the cost of the transmission project at $5 billion and cited the CEO of Trans-Elect who said that the stakes taken by Google and Good Energies would require an investment of $200 million each in the initial phase of construction (if the companies maintained their percentages of ownership). In addition, The New York Times reported that Marubeni Corporation obtained a 15% stake in this project.
The development of this project is being by Trans-Elect, which hopes to begin construction in 2013 of the proposed 350-mile underwater backbone, which would run from New Jersey to Virginia. When completed, it is projected to provide transmission capabilities for approximately 6,000 MW of offshore wind capacity.
"This new American super grid off the Mid-Atlantic coast will unlock an important untapped resource, creating the foundation for a new industry and jobs for thousands of American workers," said Bob Mitchell, CEO of Trans-Elect.
"We are honored to participate with our partners in this groundbreaking project. The Atlantic Wind Connection Project will enable the development of thousands of megawatts of wind energy capacity in one of the nation’s most restricted power markets. AWC will help bring stability and security to the eastern power grid while enabling the states to meet their renewable energy goals and standards by accessing an untapped large scale local renewable resource - offshore wind," said John Breckenridge, Managing Director at Good Energies. "Good Energies consistently searches for outstanding investmentopportunities that present innovative and cost-effective solutions and which we can leverageour expertise to aid in the transition to a low carbon economy."
"We are excited to make our first investment in transmission development on this gamechanging renewable energy project," added Nathan Campbell, Director at Good Energies. "We see the space as an enormous opportunity to deploy capital within our North American Infrastructure fund. Transmission backbones that enable gigawatts of renewable energy to be deployed will be critical in achieving long term public policy objectives."
ECO:nomics - Creating Environmental Capital is a conference presented by The Wall Street Journal that is taking place from March 4 - 6 in Santa Barbara, California. Below are video highlights from the first day of the conference, covering remarks by Eric Schmidt (Chair and CEO, Google) and Alan Mulally (President and CEO, Ford Motor Co.).
In a blog post on February 23rd, Dr. Larry Brilliant announced some changes at Google.org, Google's philanthropic group. These changes include that Dr. Brilliant will now be serving as Google's Chief Philanthropy Evangelist and that Megan Smith, who currently serves as Vice President of New Business Development, will also be serving as General Manager of Google.org and provide day-to-day management.
In addition, Dr. Brilliant outlined that these next steps would be taking place:
One of the first things that Megan will focus on is how Google.org can best achieve its mission. During our review it became clear that while we have been able to support some remarkable non-profit organizations over the past three years, our greatest impact has come when we've attacked problems in ways that make the most of Google's strengths in technology and information; examples of this approach include Flu Trends, RechargeIT, Clean Energy 2030, and PowerMeter. By aligning Google.org more closely with Google as a whole, Megan will ensure that we're better able to build innovative, scalable technology and information solutions. As a first step, Google has decided to put even more engineers and technical talent to work on these issues and problems...
Reductions (from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's current baseline for energy use) in the following areas:
Fossil fuel-based electricity generation by 88%
Vehicle oil consumption by 38%
Dependence on imported oil (currently 10 million barrels per day) by 33%
Electricity-sector CO2 emissions by 95%
Personal vehicle sector CO2 emissions by 38%
US CO2 emissions overall by 48% (40% from today's CO2 emission level)
Deploying aggressive end-use electrical energy efficiency measures to reduce demand 33%.
Replacing all coal and oil electricity generation, and about half of that from natural gas, with renewable electricity, consisting of 380 gigawatts (GW) wind [300 GW onshore + 80 GW offshore], 250 GW solar [170 GW photovoltaic (PV) + 80 GW concentrating solar power (CSP)], and 80 GW geothermal [15 GW conventional + 65 GW enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)]
Increasing plug-in vehicles (hybrids & pure electrics) to 90% of new car sales in 2030, reaching 42% of the total US fleet that year
Increasing new conventional vehicle fuel efficiency from 31 to 45 mpg in 2030
Accelerating the turnover of the vehicle fleet from 19 to 13 years (resulting in 25 million new vehicle sales per year in 2030, a 31% increase over the baseline)
The projected cost of the Clean Energy 2030 plan would be $4.4 trillion (in undiscounted 2008 dollars) over the 22-year term of the plan. However, the plan states that the savings would be $5.4 trillion, yielding an overall savings of $1.0 trillion during the course of the plan.
Google has been involved in a variety of clean energy initiatives (the links at the end of this post provide some examples). Also, below is the keynote address delivered by Dr. Schmidt at the recent Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) Annual Meeting. In this address Dr. Schmidt shares his perspective on a range of topics, including Google's green initiatives and possible public and private sector strategies for addressing climate change.
Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?
Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?
Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don't fit into any category at all.
Reach: How many people would this idea affect?
Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?
Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?
Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?
Longevity: How long will the idea's impact last?
Ideas must be submitted by October 20th, 2008. One hundred ideas will be listed for public voting beginning on January 27th, 2009. This voting will narrow the list to 20 semi-finalists. An advisory board will then select up to five final ideas to which Google will contribute a total of $10 million to implement.
The initial project will be at the Mount Herman landfill in Caldwell County, North Carolina. GHGS will design, build and operate a facility that will capture more than 120,000 tons of methane gas from the landfill over ten years. The captured methane gas will be destroyed by flare or converted to a fuel source to power a new agricultural research greenhouse that will be built for the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute as part of the project.
The GHG credits will be generated from the methane gas captured by GHGS, and the company will work with an independent third party to certify the scientific integrity of the avoided emissions. Google will add these offsets to its carbon portfolio to advance its goal of company-wide carbon neutrality. The project will use the GHGS Standard of Practice to govern the creation, management and retirement of the credits.
"We’re working with Google at the site level to create GHG credits that are certified to our Standard of Practice, ensuring they represent a real and permanent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," said Mauricio Vargas, CEO of GHGS.
"Caldwell County welcomes the opportunity to work with Google and GHGS to create offsets while improving air quality and promoting agricultural research," said Dr. John Thuss, Caldwell County Commissioner
Today, GE and Google announced a partnership to improve the U.S. electricity infrastructure as well as its connection with future electric transportation. The companies released a fact sheet that provides an overview of the components of this partnership. Highlights include:
1. Policy partnership GE and Google will advocate for federal policies to support improvements in the U.S. electricity system. Their Initial policy priorities include:
Planning, siting, and cost allocation for the transmission capacity necessary to enable large scale deployment of renewable electricity generation in the United States
Development and deployment of a "smart" electricity grid that will empower utilities and end users to manage electricity more efficiently and with lower emission
2. Collaboration on advanced energy technologies GE and Google will work together to develop and deploy renewable energy and plug-in vehicle related technologies. Initial areas of collaboration include:
Software, controls, and services to enable utilities to integrate plug-in vehicles into the grid
Both GE and Google are involved in a number of clean energy initiatives (the links at the end of this post provide some examples). Also, in a separate announcement, Greenhouse Gas Services (GHGS) (a venture between GE Energy Financial Services and The AES Corporation) announced an agreement today with Google (see related post). In addition, the following video features a discussion at the recent Google Zeitgeist '08 Americas conference between Dr. Eric Schmidt (CEO and Chair, Google) and Jeffery Immelt (CEO and Chair, GE).
On September 8, 2008, Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google CEO and Board Chair, delivered the keynote address at the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) Annual Meeting. This event provided senior executives from Global 500 corporations with insights on best practices for implementing environmental and sustainability strategies. Dr. Schmidt shared his perspective on a range of topics, including Google's own green initiatives and possible public and private sector strategies for addressing climate change.