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Google Releases Report Showing Clean Energy’s Impact on the Economy

Google crunches numbers to figure out how clean energy technology innovation can improve the economy and the environment.

Google has been one of the biggest corporate investors into renewable and clean energy technologies.  In fact, the search engine giant has invested over $780 million in clean energy technologies and innovations such as wind power and both solar farms and rooftop solar installation.  The company is also involved with electric car developer Aptera, biofuel venture Cool Planet Biofuels, and power conversion pioneer Transphorm.  Now, Google has crunched the numbers to uncover just how much change clean energy technology and innovation could have on the economy and the environment in a report it has released this summer.

According to Google, clean technology innovations can add 1.1 million jobs and $158 billion to the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) per year, while reducing annual household energy costs by $942 per home by 2030.  If policies are made stronger, those numbers could increase to a GDP of $244 billion and nearly 2 million jobs, while saving homes $995 annually.

The Google report uses a calculation tool provided by McKinsey and Co., coupled with government data and assumptions based on industry trends.  The report presupposes breakthroughs in technology and more aggressive clean tech energy policies to fulfill such figures.  It covers everything from clean power generation to electric cars, energy storage to natural gas. 

According to Google, a delay in increasing investment and development in clean tech between 2010 and 2015 will result in $2.3 trillion to $3.2 trillion in unrealized GDP and cost 1.2 million to 1.4 million jobs by 2050.

The report’s predictive models reveal that significant replacement of coal with clean energy sources isn’t likely to occur until after 2030.  But after then, clean technologies like solar and geothermal will be cheap enough to replace the dirty yet widespread power source.

Google also notes that cheap natural gas will likely slow down clean energy development over the next few decades.  However, the report claims that natural gas is still cleaner than coal, and its widespread use will create cheap electricity, thus making electric cars more viable

By. John Shimkus of Energy Digital




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  • Anonymous on September 01 2011 said:
    GIGO as they say in the computer business, you get out what you put in. All the assumptions on green energy are all best case scenerios instead of worst case ones to put the best face on an ideological position. Better to assume the worst and then hope for better.
  • Putry on February 28 2012 said:
    Thanks Duncan for the cmoment. As you know, we all recognize the need for rapid deployment, and we're all working toward a similar long-term vision. The question is what kind of political and policy strategy can begin achieving the technology improvements and political consensus we need to get us there.Obama's proposal included both an increase in RD D and a clean energy standard. So in terms of the administration's approach we're not just talking about RD D, though that's clearly one of the primary areas where we can and should make progress right now. Based on the evidence, a climate-centric strategy would primarily serve to divide the public, anger and empower the Tea Party base, encourage the Republican House to kill all legislative proposals, and better position themselves for 2012. On the other hand, an agenda with investments in clean energy technology at the front and center speaks to a much broader and more powerful set of public interests, and can continue building the clean energy consensus. We haven't argued that nobody should be working to advance climate education, just that we believe President Obama's approach is sound.Thanks again and let's keep the conversation going!Teryn

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