Google Deletes Renewable Energy Initiative

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google Inc. unplugged its Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative, part of general cutbacks at the company.

The initiative, which was developed as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy, launched in 2007 through, the company’s charitable arm. The initiative featured an RE<C engineering team focused on researching improvements to solar power.

“At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level,” Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of operations and Google Fellow, posted in a November blog. “So we’ve published our results to help others in the field continue to advance the state of power tower technology, and we’ve closed our efforts.”

Hölzle said the company will continue its work to generate cleaner, more efficient energy — including on-campus efforts, procuring renewable energy for its data centers, making data centers even more efficient and investing more than $850 million in renewable energy technologies.

Through RE<C, Google invested in companies researching potentially breakthrough technologies, including Brightsource Energy and eSolar to help expand work on concentrating solar power technology, and in Potter Drilling to advance its innovative geothermal drilling technology.

RE<C also sponsored research to develop the first geothermal map of the country and supported an engineering team working to improve a type of concentrating solar power technology called the solar power tower.

RE<C will publish several technical papers with the details of its work and is also working to publish the inventions that it developed.

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