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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Google close to getting renewable energy less than the cost of coal...


Google Close To Getting Renewable Energy For Less Than Coal...

Google's (GOOG) green energy czar tells Reuters it's closing in on paying the same price for energy from renewable sources as it would if that energy came from coal.

It's not guaranteed that the company can achieve 'grid parity' but, Bill Weihl, the Green Energy Czar tells the newswire "It is even odds, more or less, I would say...In, you know, three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out there."

This is all well and good, but keep in mind, with alternative energy, "grid parity in three years," is a popular refrain.

Google gets energy from all sorts of renewable sources, including wind, solar and geothermal. Its focus is on solar thermal energy, which uses concentrated mirrors to generate heat which turns turbines to generate energy (see here for further explanation.)

Reuters: "We are looking at ways of cheaply getting to much higher temperatures and also making the heliostats, the fields of mirrors that have to track the sun, reflect the sun, keep it focused on the target we are trying to heat up -- make those much, much cheaper. And I think we've made some really interesting progress in the last six to nine months," he said.

Weihl cautioned that the odds of missing the goal were still large, and he said that once the new ideas had been tried, it would cost substantial amounts to deploy them at utility scale.

Once the test project is done, "We'll see whether we or us in combination with other people are prepared to fund much much bigger facilities, or if we want to get a few more years experience before we really start to scale it up," he said.

Of course, there's no word on how the goats figure into the whole picture.


Acknowledgements: Reuters

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