• 23 hours Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 1 day Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 1 day Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 1 day $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 1 day Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 1 day Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 2 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 2 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 2 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 2 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 2 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 2 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 2 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 3 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 3 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 3 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 3 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 3 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 3 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 3 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 3 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 3 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 4 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 4 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 4 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
  • 4 days Shell: Four Oil Platforms Shut In Gulf Of Mexico After Fire
  • 4 days OPEC To Recruit New Members To Fight Market Imbalance
  • 4 days Green Groups Want Norway’s Arctic Oil Drilling Licenses Canceled
  • 5 days Venezuelan Oil Output Drops To Lowest In 28 Years
  • 5 days Shale Production Rises By 80,000 BPD In Latest EIA Forecasts
  • 5 days GE Considers Selling Baker Hughes Assets
  • 5 days Eni To Address Barents Sea Regulatory Breaches By Dec 11
  • 5 days Saudi Aramco To Invest $300 Billion In Upstream Projects
  • 5 days Aramco To List Shares In Hong Kong ‘For Sure’
  • 5 days BP CEO Sees Venezuela As Oil’s Wildcard
  • 5 days Iran Denies Involvement In Bahrain Oil Pipeline Blast
  • 8 days The Oil Rig Drilling 10 Miles Under The Sea
  • 8 days Baghdad Agrees To Ship Kirkuk Oil To Iran
  • 8 days Another Group Joins Niger Delta Avengers’ Ceasefire Boycott
  • 8 days Italy Looks To Phase Out Coal-Fired Electricity By 2025
Alt Text

Can Solar Survive Without Subsidies?

Despite falling solar panel costs…

Alt Text

Are Autonomous Cars Ready To Ditch The Backup Driver?

Self-driving cars are being tested…

Google: The Power to Influence Clean Energy

Google: The Power to Influence Clean Energy

Google may have a bad track record on privacy practices, but when it comes to green, the internet giant is clean, racking up over $850 million in investments to develop and deploy clean energy and earning the top spot on Greenpeace’s list of IT giants who are using and advocating for clean energy. 

In February, Greenpeace ranked Google the best on its “Cool IT Leaderboard”, although it only scored 53 out of 100 points on the ranking system, still putting it ahead of Cisco, with 49 points. But it was a reluctant gift from Greenpeace, which has been hounding the IT giant for some time over its long overdue moves to shift to green and to use its influence and outreach to advocate for renewable energy.

Google may have gotten off to a slow green start, but in the long term, the IT giant should benefit from the move. It is now sourcing more than 20% of its global energy use from green sources such as solar and wind. As a major consumer of energy, reducing consumption will help its profit margins and its clean energy efforts should boost its public image at a time when Google is mired in litigation over privacy practices. 

And Google’s influence should not be underestimated, which is something Greenpeace understands well. Not only is Google going green, it’s also dabbling in policy initiatives, offering up its own clean energy proposals for government consideration (such as a plan to remove US dependency on fossil fuels entirely within 22 years).

So far, Google has invested $10 million in two solar companies, eSolar and Brightsource, and has created a $280 million fund with SolarCity in California to install solar panels in 9,000 homes on a lease option. The IT giant has invested another $15 million in wind energy, and $10 million in enhanced geothermal systems. Most significantly, Google Ventures has launched a $100 million venture capital fund for innovative clean technology start-ups. Beyond that, the IT giant is seeking to foray into the utility sector by applying for a license to sell bulk electricity. Smart grids and plug-in cars are also on its list of green projects, as are a number of riskier ventures, including work on a heliostat – a mirrored device that directs the sun’s rays to create thermal energy – and high-altitude flying wind turbines.

While Google and other IT giants such as Cisco, Ericsson and Dell top Greenpeace’s clean energy use and advocacy list, the environmental groups says that there is still an insufficient amount of movement in terms of addressing pollution. "Google tops the table because it's putting its money where its mouth is by pumping investment into renewable energy," Greenpeace International analyst Gary Cook told reporters upon the release of the "Cool IT Leaderboard." However, he said, while the IT industry is driving significant energy demand with its data centers and global infrastructure, when it comes to addressing pollution, action has been slow.

Certainly, Google’s original plans for energy have been scaled down, and many of the more eclectic projects the company once envisioned have been cancelled as results were not forthcoming as predicted. Still, the company is now investing more in clean energy than ever – in fact, ten times more than in 2010. This is a remarkable sum for an IT company when you compare it to renewable energy investments in energy giants such as BP, for instance, which invested around $1.6 billion in 2010. Google’s focus has shifted from the eclectic to the practical, a shift most clearly seen in its drive to deploy commercial solar panels and wind turbines – investments that promise a return.

In the realm of clean energy and the US drive to reduce dependency on foreign fuel imports, Google and other IT giants could wield a significant amount of influence, both on the public and on policy. Now that that IT giants are largely on board with the clean energy initiative – though the jury is still out on Apple and Oracle – this momentum should pick up pace.

By Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

Jen Alic is a geopolitical analyst, co-founder of ISA Intel in Sarajevo and Tel Aviv, and the former editor-in-chief of ISN Security Watch in Zurich.




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News