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November 27, 2007

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Comments

The PM

The solar industry needs greater investment (of any kind) to drive down the costs. You have to applaud the Google guys for investing money in areas with the intent of only breaking up a hard to crack market (ie cell phone software, etc.) Let's just hope the shareholders don't stop their spending.

Isaac Ladson

Someone has to step in to do the government's work while our tax money is being spent on a useless, goal-less war, justified by lies and promoted by the oil lobby for the benefit of the Big Oil privateers.

Think how far we might have come had we elected an intelligent president and a Congress with the word "NO" in their vocabulary. And, to think we have another year to suffer before we have a chance to start unwinding all the damage this administration has brought our country. I don't much care what party or who the next president is; in all cases we are starting out at rock-bottom so everything is up from this point.

I think Google has the right idea and with their financial power let them lead the country as our proxy government, taking the place of the mess we have currently. The future is in alternative energy and no longer in the smog, acid-rain and soot of dirty fossil fuel.

I would like to see the Cicos, Microsofts and Googles become more involved in bringing alternative energy into production; someone needs to challenge the greedy, controlling oil companies as soon as possible so we can move out of this world of fear created by George Bush.

Matt

Way to go Google! Quite interested in that high altitude wind company. That seems to make a bunch of sense.

Isaac... Can't wait for Bush to be history.. but then again. Look at who is next:

Obama thinks a good way to solve the energy crisis is to make liquid fuels from coal!

I'm afraid that having some basic understanding of science is simply not a prerequisite for president. Hence, we'll end up with bad policy no matter who is in.

Politicians != scientists... if they were scientists.. imagine how smoothly things would run. Everything extremely optimized, smooth running, and sustainable.

Anyways... looks like Clinton is the environmentalists choice.

M. Simon

I'm a liberal. I support democracy in Iraq.

It is unfortunate that so many so called liberals do not support the advance of self government.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. - John F. Kennedy

Evidently the advance of liberty is too big a burden for some people.

===========

BTW politicians know something that scientists know and Google does not. If solar cheaper than coal was easy it would already be done.

In fact scientists, engineers, and economists have been looking intently at that question for over 40 years.

Google should spend its money on Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion

David Martin

Exciting stuff. Government tends to be pretty conservative, and bureacratic, so I am convinced that the nous of companies like Google is desperately needed.
I do hope that one of the options they are considering looking into is Direct carbon fuel cells:
http://www.sara.com/RAE/carbon_fuel.html
The pdf on this link is very informative.
It would be a lot less carbon intensive than present energy technologies, and has potential to be combined with biological carbon for no net CO2 emission.
Putting this together with technologies like agrichar could do great things:
http://www.peterrussell.com/Earth/CarbSequest.php
I think most people would be pretty happy with more prairie:
http://www.ea2020.org/drupal/node/288
Go Google!
Regards,
DaveMart

JRip

Bravo Google!
This is called LEADERSHIP!

But keep in mind it is also situational leadership. Unfortunately the rest of the world ( e.g. Governments, Corporations, Agriculture and the People) is very entwined with the liquid fuels paradigm and the burn-hydrocarbons paradigm. Organizations like Google that are free of deep historical entwinement, run by iconoclasts AND wealthy can readily make this move.

We need to get moving as the petroleum crunch is upon us as production growth stalls, peak oil nears and the world's Oil Exporting countries (e.g. UK, Indonesia) go out of the oil export business becoming Net Oil Importers. USA imports 60+% and a country can only import what another country exports. With exports from Iran and Mexico expected to decline to zero by 2013-2015 we don't have much time.

Kit P

Green is the new bravo sierra (aka, cow manure). Google is guilty of shameless self promotion and certainly not leader in this category. A budget of 'tens of millions on research and development and related investments' indicates this is a public relations campaign. Expect lots of pictures of solar panels and happy geeks but no production numbers about the amount of electricity produced.

If the chairman of FPL announced a plan to make solar as cheap and reliable as coal by investing tens of billions, that would be worth following.

DavidJ

Kit P:
your cynicism is becoming laborious. 1) They stated that they would not be supporting photovoltaics. 2) So a name plate capacity of 1GW might not produce 1GW, but if a large investment is producing electricity more cheaply than coal then it must be producing a load of electricity.

bigTom

This sort of investment differs from government investment. The later gets tieddown by politics more often than promise. Companies in polically important swing districts get funding regardless of merit, while the losing technologies fight like hell to torpedo the successful ones. Something like this doesn't suffer from the same political forces, although it could be fickle in its own way.

Yes, KitP, there is a lot of self-promotion going on here. It doesn't sound like they are trying to make this a profit center. A technology incubation charter is quite different from a utility business plan. Now maybe Larry is retaining the right of partial ownership to any startups that show real promise?

Rod

I would guess they intend to make the whole of Google.com carbon neutral. Not by bullshit offsetting but by producing all the power they use.

Paul

Nov 28, 2007, Norwalk, CT:

Solar & Thermal Systems (STS) is ready to provide parabolic trough concentrating systems for grid-tied commercial and industrial locations, and bright-fields.

A system consists of one or more modules in the 200-500kW range. Multiple modules can be combined to reach megawatt power levels.

Because we use synchronous generators the STS can operate in a stand-alone configuration, or can supply VA and/or VAR depending on the customers needs. Larger installations using line-excited generators offer high voltage 13.8kV options and 0.25% regulation.

Solar to electrical efficiency is ~15%, superior to most photovoltaics, plus we can provide optional CHP. Future plans include a smaller ~5kW residential system.

Contact Solar & Thermal Systems for more.

http://www.solarandthermal.com/
e-mail [email protected]

DaveMart

I can't really understand the cynicism. What do they have to do to convince that they are giving it a go?
They have already indicated that as and when they are happy that they have the right technology, then the amounts invested will climb into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
At the present stage more money would be wasted - they have put $10m into makani, to prototype high altitude windpower, and e-solar is building in 25MW modules, so again the finance is adequate.
I'm not sure what their plans are for geothermal, whether they are putting money into exploiting the grossly under-utilised conventional resources or developing hot dry rock technology which still needs working on.
In any case, they seem to be doing a good job in identifying the technologies which have the resource base to make a big difference, and many of those needs comparatively modest sums of seed capital - look at the 30years it took to get anyone interested in the very reasonable ausra thermal solar technology

DaveMart

Just checked a link - Google is going for advanced geothermal, not conventional.
http://www.google.com/corporate/green/energy/faq.html
wind, solar thermal and geothermal - sounds like a good spread to me.
Regards,

Mike

I think this is Google planning for the future. They're a huge electricity consumer and they have a long-term benefit to encouraging technologies that may help slow the rise in fuel costs.

Al Fin

They need to spend the money on storage and load leveling technologies. Those are the pivots.

Give Google a chance to strut its stuff. This could be either a waste of time and money (a la Bill Gates Foundation) or it could lead to some useful breakthroughs.

Remember the great "War on Poverty" and "War on Cancer?" Voila! No more cancer or poverty!

Danzig

Reading these posts, I'm not sure what everyone thinks they heard in this press release. Google, ladies and gentlemen, is a public company. That means that they take my money (and yours, perhaps?) and use it to create businesses which will provide an above-average return on capital. Google is not a development-stage R&D company, nor is it a charity. And they are certainly not "our proxy government"!

Google, like every other company on the planet, is searching for technologies which can generate profits. If that turns out to be a new green technology, so much the better. But PROFIT remains the operative word for Google, and you may be sure that the big dollars will not flow into any technology that does not hold the promise of profits for shareholders.

Google is behaving like a rational capitalist. And they are hardly alone. Hundreds of companies are searching for precisely the same technologies. So, sure. Applaud Google. But don't labor under the notion that they are doing something unique. It's BUSINESS, folks.

DaveMart

Google are already involved in load levelling technologies.
They are heavily behind plug-in cars with a feed back to the grid, which would help greatly.
They have also said that they are looking into further technologies - this is just the first group sponsored.
At the risk of being uncharitable, I do find the comments about the Gates foundation incredible.
What is so bad about them sinking many millions into the fight against malaria and aids?
They could have just bought a football team or something, like some of the Russian billionaires.
This world-weariness strikes me as perhaps a little juvenile - life is hard enough, and I don't think it wise to discount every attempt to help, even if it does not instantly cure cancer or whatever.
On a similar, although less contentious theme, sure, Google is acting like a rational capitalist - but they could also have acted like rational capitalists by putting money into very environmentally unfriendly energy sources like shale oil - I pretty much like the options they have chosen.
Why think the worst of them?

JRip

Taking Mike's remark above a little further.

Data centers, server farms, what-have-you have become huge consumers of electric power. They are also vital to the organizations that own them. As Google grows around the globe it is easy to imagine the need for a geographic spread of data centers. Perhaps you know that all sorts of countries are experiencing systemic outages of electric power. It is not just Iraq.

If there was a solar power plant with 24-hour power production capacity (e.g. perhaps by using molten salt to store heat for overnight use) would ANY data center not have one? [OK - maybe not in the cold and cloudy northland]

So -
A. power costs less than coal = good economical choice
B. Solar power = No CO2, No pollutants = good environmental choice
C. No imported fuels = good political choice
D. No dependency upon unreliable power sources = good business choice.

Sounds great to me.

Clee

In addition to pictures of solar panels, Google does show production numbers and the amount of electricity produced by their rooftop photovoltaic system.
http://www.google.com/corporate/solarpanels/home

Al Fin

If Google pursues the goal of cleaner, cheaper energy with the rationality and tenacity of penny-pinching capitalists, they may do some good, inadvertently. If they pursue it for "the public good," they are likely to waste a lot of money with very little to show for it. Just like Bill Gates' Foundation.

Gregor

The oil companies are running scared right now. Why do you think the price of oil is climbing so fast? As soon as somebody comes up with an alternative energy source, the oil companies are going to be in a very uncomfortable spot.

In the meantime, they will gouge the hell out of us and hope that it lasts long enough that they can maximize their profits.

I'm with Google.....go hard boys, find that alternative.

Kit P

Clee, thanks for the link. I just happened to read a paper on Springerville Generating Station (http://www.greenwatts.com/pages/SolarOutput.asp ) discussing the variability of production on a minute basis. The average capacity factor for the last two years of two years was 19%. I calculated today's capacity factor which was also 19%.

I calculated today's capacity factor for the Google roof system which was 3% taking into account that the system is 90% complete. The output since June is about a few seconds output of a coal plant. The investment Google is making is insignificant.

The reason I am skeptical (not cynical) when companies make outrageous environmental claims about insignificant amounts of money and electricity is because it would appear that they are only interested in public relations.

David

Google's energy requirements are huge http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/14/technology/14search.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

It's no wonder they are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their energy consumption. Hopefully their research will benefit the rest of us as well.

Richard

You know, you really can't win. If it was a small-time vendor who nobody had heard of that was investing in this type of technology, everyone would whine that they were "too small to make an impact" and "would bankrupt themselves by trying to be too big too fast". It's a huge company who is backing this, and instead people are whining for different reasons.

It really goes to show that you can't please everyone.

DaveMart

What on earth is outrageous about the claims?
Having read Google's press release, they are saying that they are taking steps to minimise their own environmental impact, and now going beyond that to see what technologies are possible that will impact CO2 release in a big way, and that they are putting research funds appropriate to such research in, with possibly later expanding that to the hundreds of million dollar ranges - about as much as could be used without Google going into the business of base power supply - no doubt if the technology proves itself to that level then finance would not be a difficulty, even in the tens or hundred's of billions - Google itself in those circumstances could certainly raise the money, although they would prefer others who are more familiar with the generating business to do that - a very wise decision in my view - look at the people who have come unstuck trying to mass-produce cars - it takes hard-won expertise.
The real problem has always been the great difficulty in raising a few million or tens of millions of dollars, as capital is pretty risk adverse to new concepts - probably the reason Google have done this through their charitable arm, to avoid banging into their usual financial procedures internally, when risk assessing ventures, although it might also be more tax-efficient.
What do people expect, an announcement that Google is going to invest $100billion in new project, of which they don't really have precise details to hand?
Business just does not work that way, but if their all-important modest early investment works and they crack how to produce cheap clean energy, there will be little difficulty in getting finance - they willl have done the hardest part.

Steve

Split Water into monoatomic H+H+O using ZPE.
Hello? What part of Free Energy do you not get?

Andreas Kay

Google seems to be on the right track by investing into R&D for solar thermal power. With the amount of money spent in the Iraq war invested into CSP (concentrating solar power) plants the US could become independent from oil forever:
http://www.solarpowerrocks.com/solar-politics/how-far-could-68b-go-in-securing-our-energy-independence-pretty-damn-far/

The former president of The Club of Rome has just presented a very interesting White Paper on supplying solar thermal electricity from Africa to Europe:
http://www.desertec.org/index.html

DaveMart

The economics of a large, direct current grid have been worked out:
http://www.iset.uni-kassel.de/abt/w3-w/folien/wind21/overview.html
Either desert solar thermal for most of the US or wind-power would need very extensive grids, although less so for high altitude wind as it is essentially available everywhere.
It would also be needed for some areas with hot dry rock geothermal, although that resource is widely available.
The grid in both Europe and the US needs upgrading anyway though, so hopefully eventually the politicos will get their acts together.
Most of the technologies needed to greatly reduce CO2 output are in place, or likely to be so within a few years.
Leadership is the thing now.
We're doomed!

Jen Cluse

Matt is right - fusion is the only possible long term solution (10k+ yr) .

For this reason I have long supported fission power, as I'm afraid that we may well run out of oil, or possibly coal, or even geothermal reserves before stable viable fusion energy production at a rational cost is achieved.

Personally, as an old retired radio tech who has a clear grasp of positive feedback reactions, I believe we have but 7 years to reduce emissions produced WORLD WIDE so they are absolutely equal to or less that the planet's ability to absorb them (which is being reduced daily by our monumental selfishness and stupidity) otherwise it is inevitable that the CO2 level will hit about 450ppm by about 2036, and from then on there is no turning back what will be our very own runaway positive feedback reaction in the atmosphere.

I estimate this will occur somewhere between 2090 and 2010, when the atmosphere will restabilize . . .

. . . at somewhere between 210 and 230 degrees C

Sorry about that, great-grand-kids, but we >really< did desperately need those ludicrously big houses and SUVs

Jen Cluse

p.s.

I honestly pray every night that the data is wrong.

And then I look again at the 100 year graph of CO2 levels . . .

. . . and toss & turn all night.

You see, I'm also a retired airline captain, and we drivers saw, and dismissed, and saw more of, and wondered, and saw it almost everywhere and worried - that the crap we were pumping into the stable upper atmosphere from our tailpipes was eventually going to turn and bite us.

Hmm - that hot breath - you don't suppose . . . . . . x

disdaniel

Kit P notes: "I calculated today's capacity factor for the Google roof system which was 3%"

According to their website their monitoring system is having a problem...which you might realize if you notice that it would take nearly 2 years at today's reported output to generate the energy they have since mid June.

But more to the point re: Google PR, solar thermal technology is 3x as efficient as PV, so they are selecting a neat segment of the market.

Of course this was PR, but they are backing it up with dollars. If coal companies are allowed to advertise "clean cheap power" www.americaspower.org (talk about double-speak) while they sabotage a national RPS, I don't know why you object so vociferously a small Google PR initiative.

bigTom

Jen:
I know a bit about climate, and often get into battles against denialists, but I don't see anyreason to think positive feedbacks will be that strong, or quick. The evidence form the ice ages, is that the slow feedbacks, involving CO2 and other greenhouse gases are relatively slow (100s to thousands of years). Also the effectiveness of a given increment of GHG goes down as concentration increases. There is no reason to worry about 100C warmups. Plenty of reason to worry about 3-5-10 C perhaps, but those aren't world-ending, merely highly inconvienient.

DaveMart

Well, if there is going to be a 100degree rise in temperature, no climate scientist I have heard of yet knows about it.
Why anyone should think that, let alone loose sleep about it, stuns me - during the climatic record of the past carbon dioxide levels have been many multiples of current or projected levels without causing a runaway greenhouse effect - not that even a 2degree rise would be without consequence, but there is no foundation at all for the huge rise hypothesised there.

ThinkSolarEnergy

It sounds great, but as others i can't understand which interest should have Google in this kind of business. Maybe someone have informations that all of us don't know... i mean about climate changes.

DaveMart

According to Google:
Why is Google so interested in renewable energy? In 2006, non-hydro renewable energy sources supplied less than 2% of the world’s energy consumption, in part because of the relatively high cost of production. 'Renewable energy isn’t as cost-competitive or widely available as fossil fuels, so Google (and most of the rest of the world) must rely on carbon-based power sources of electricity.

A number of organizations are working to bring down the price of renewable energy to be cost-competitive with coal. Google wants to apply our capital and engineering skills to join this important endeavor.'
http://www.google.com/corporate/green/energy/faq.html
Or, to put it more simply, they don't want to fry anymore than than the rest of us!
And they figure they have the skills and the money to make sure they don't have to!

Kit P

It is really nice that Google is interested in renewable energy. I wonder what their position is on mom and apple pie.

Google has a renewable energy budget sized to support a public relation campaign. The tell is their obsession with solar. The other alternative is that the folks are Google are exceedingly stupid. I keep providing a link to a very good solar project to compare a a stupid one. Google can make their solar panels perform much better if they move their roof to a better location. For many years, I had a sail boat in San Francisco Bay. There is a great deal of variability of solar and wind resources.

DaveMart

No idea why you keep on about their panels on the roof.
This project has got nothing to do with the PV panels there, but instead refers to 3 different technologies, solar thermal, high altitude wind and dry rock geothermal.
They have stated their research budget is in the tens of millions of dollars, and their development budget in the hundreds of millions range.
If they are so stupid, why do they have so much money?

Kit P

I may not have been blunt enough for DaveMart. Putting solar panels on roofs of your building is good PR for Google because they market to people ignorant of environmental impact of making electricity.

I am an advocate of using solar energy. I designed by own system when I lived in California. The location of my house was selected to use solar and it worked great. Presently the demand for solar panels exceeds the supply. Google has wasted a large resource of solar panels by putting them at a location to optimize PR not electricity production.

If Google wanted to help the environment, they would be investing in anaerobic digesters since California is one of the largest milk producing states. Processing cow manure would do very much for Google's image. Then there is forest health issues, recycling tires, urban yard trimmings.

While there is a long list of hard problems to solve, Google picks one for public relation value aimed at shallow minded green wennies.

DaveMart

But what the heck has Google's use of photovoltaic panels got to do with the initiative discussed in this thread?
It is about other technologies than PV.
I am no defender of Google, and some of their use of data has been horrendous, but lets look fairly at what they are proposing here, which I repeat has nothing at all to do with photovoltaic.

fjh

'minimize their environmental impact'

So they're going back to 12v computer systems and eliminating inefficient transformers; they're scaling back their huge color printers; they're going to show us their reduced electric bills; they.....

GOOGLE may be one of the leading reasons why people stay glued to their computer systems, which over the years have led to a huge increase in power usage---check your local schools electric bills for the past five years and correlate it with technology buys and lan installations.

Sounds they'd like to shift the focus away from the computer power hogs; and into 'clean, green, abundant energy'...I wonder how many SUV's and pickup trucks are in their parking lots?

Kit P

DaveMart I read several hundred press releases related to energy and the environment every week. It is pretty easy to spot the BS artist from serious players. If fact serious players like to keep below the radar screen and let performance speak for itself.

This is not Google's first press release. Each one sounds more fantastic than the last. Well check the last one, solar PV. There is no reason that PV can not be done right the first time but it looks like Google has failed to deliver but continue the PR just like they are doing great things for the environment. Now they have more fantastic goals. There is nothing wrong with setting aggressive goals but there is something wrong with indulging in a fantasy.

For a long time I watched ENRON with awe. They were the darling of energy investment. They were also a leader in renewable energy. Then I started noticing a few things. They were spending lots of cash on too many risky projects and making promises they could not keep.

One of the places that hurt energy utilities was getting into Google's business. The company I was working for at the time followed ENRON's leadership thinking the skill of making and distributing electricity applied to broadband. My company got out with big profits while ENRON sunk by developing too many high capital projects at the same time.

I see no indication that Google is serious about renewable energy. If they are FPL, Constellation Energy, and other leaders in renewable energy will eat their lunch. What you should look for is Google partnering with a serious player that deliver. Scam artist like PG&E does not count.

If sounds too good to be true....

DaveMart

Well Kit, I am not here to act as an unpaid advocate of Google ( offers to be a paid advocate will get favourable consideration!;-))
But your critique seems to me to be too generalised to be useful.
They have picked 3 plays here ( for God's sake can we leave the red-herring of their installation of PV out of the discussion )
All seem useful to me, as they look at near term technologies with a very large resource base.
The conservative play is thermal solar, partnered with e-solar.
A lot of other players think that one of the thermal technologies is near to base-load competitive - Ausra technologies backed by Khosla springs to mind.
This is limited to the South-West United states without major alterations to the grid, and storage would also be important for universal use, but solar tracks well with peak load in hot areas, so if they can meet their goal of bringing it in relatively cheaply then large volumes are attainable, perhaps of the order of 100GW worldwide before you need to worry too much about the grid and storage - and production on that scale should allow costs to be reduced still more to where it is practical to finance a more robust grid and storage.
As for Geothermal hot rock, it is very widely available indeed - the main issue is simply developing the technology:
http://geothermal.inel.gov/publications/future_of_geothermal_energy.pdf
With the new government in Australia, they are also likely to be looking at this:
http://www.innovationaustralia.net/article/article.php?article=11,178
As for high-altitude wind, that is the most challenging, but has a base which means you can get power anywhere, and if it works at all, really cheaply.
Here are the people who Google are teamed with:
http://www.makanipower.com/vision.html
The variant chosen may be based around this guys ideas, who works at Makani:
http://groups.google.com/group/sci.energy/browse_thread/thread/7e4fdb0421d2afb0/882c3b4181aa1b4d
As for Google's motivation, perhaps Richard Branson when asked if his motives were pure in backing biofuels for Virgin said it best:
"But is this all for real? Isn't it all just about image, about promoting the Virgin brand? "People do things for different reasons, not just one. I have about 10 different reasons for doing this. One is to tackle climate change. Another is to develop a clean fuel industry.

"But I would also love to have Virgin recognised as the most respected brand in the world. If it can be a leader in tackling global warming, and that enhances the brand, that's fine. It will enable us to tackle the problem all the sooner."
http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=61023
If you got had by being too naive about Enron, I am sorry - but it also perhaps a little naive to retreat from that to unconditional cynicism.
Judge each proposal on it's merits.
BTW, Ballard fuel cells disappointed me - but that is the nature of high tech bets, and I don't think that they deliberately faked it - they just couldn't get things to work the way they wanted to.

Kit P

“they just couldn't get things to work the way they wanted to.”

That happens a lot DaveMart. Good reason to be skeptical.

I did look at the links DaveMart provided. Zero experience at making electricity. Zero chance of making electricity. That is not to say that companies like FPL will not develop solar thermal or geothermal.

DaveMart did give me some insight into his thought pattern with “I have about 10 different reasons for doing this. One is to tackle climate change. Another is to develop a clean fuel industry.”

Biodiesel and synthetic diesel has great promise for reducing dependence on foreign oil while creating jobs in the US. Not a bad hedge on peak oil either. However, ghg and 'clean' are unproven claims. I would like to think so but it all depends on how it is done.

Richard Branson is not providing leadership and neither is Al Gore. The 2005 Energy Bill provided the incentives to make biorefineries profitable. How special if Richard Branson had shown up at a Harvesting Clean Energy conference in Spokane or Boise five years ago. Fat cats in NYC saving the world as a means of shameless self promotion.

DaveMart

Kit, some analysis of the actual proposals would perhaps be more informative than the generalised disparagement.
I seem to remember back in the 50s an upstart company called Sony started producing things using transistors, using technology which had been developed by there betters and not developed, and didn't do too badly with it.
Aside from the generalised knocks, have you got anything to say about the actual technologies proposed?
You don't trust them. We get that.But not all of us share your 'faith'.
BTW, it in not 'my' thought pattern, but that of Richard Branson.

Kit P

Gosh DaveMart, you are really dense. What do you need to understand, a picture drawn with crayons.

“Aside from the generalised knocks, have you got anything to say about the actual technologies proposed?”

These technologies are not very good ways to make electricity. There are being proposed by people who have little knowledge of the environmental impact of producing power and zero experience at producing it.

Solar collects are not good for the environment. The manufacture of all equipment and construction activities have environmental impact. There is no reason to think that solar is a better environmental choice than coal. Coal produces 50% of the electricity in the US. As an environmental engineer who does not work in the coal industry, I think they are doing a good job of protecting the environment while producing an essential commodity. As a customer, I think my utility is doing an excellent job. My air quality is better than the air quality in Mountain View, California.

Google is not providing an essential commodity nor are they providing any leadership in protecting the environment. They have selected technology based on public relations not merit.

Jeff Eldon

Kit P's cynicism and blind support of coal is a good example of the kind of non-thinking from the Bush Administration guided by Big Oil -- further increased reliance on oil will lead our country to economic ruin and further increased reliance on coal will lead our world to environmental ruin.

Only a new way of thinking and a new direction will allow us to grow peacefully and in a sustainable way as a nation. Google will not solve all of the problems in the path ahead of us, but at least they are ON the right path -- a path the Bush Administration and apparently Kit P reject out of hand and would otherwise insist we follow the tragic path the country has been on for the past seven years.

Applaud Google not for what they will accomplish, but for helping other companies and the public see a better path to a brighter future.

Kit P

“Applaud Google not for what they will accomplish, ..”

Well that is kind of problem isn't Jeff. Applauding failure to protect the environment is more important than actually protecting it. So jeff when you are done with your mom and apple pie rant, could you tell me what “better path to a brighter future” is.

This something that will be hard to promise my youngest. None of his classmates are polio survivors. He has only lived in all electric homes and has no idea that a coal furnace for home heating might mean that snow is grey instead of white. He can actually go swimming in Lake Erie. He has no experience with air and water pollution.

Thanks to companies like Google, he can find a world of knowledge in an instant. If he is concerned about how his electricity is produced he can even go on line their web site. He can exchange ideas with many around the world without fear of his government suppressing his thoughts.

The present looks pretty good and I am optimistic about my children's future. I am very optimistic that a reliable supply of electricity can be supplied in a sustainable manner to the entire world's population. It is likely that the cost of producing power with coal will double in the next generation and solar thermal may drop by factor of 5.

However, the only path Google is on is self promotion. Nobody in the electric industry is looking at Google and saying we should have thought of that. I am optimistic that FP&L will make solar thermal more economical that natural gas. At which time Jeff will complaining about 'big greedy energy companies' tearing up the desert for profit.

It is interesting that the only path to a brighter future is too first accept a doom and gloom vision of of 'environmental ruin'.

DaveMart

So now it is personal abuse Kit?
Your assertation that the environmental costs of installing the equipment for solar etc exceeds the ongoing reduction of CO2 in the use of coal fired plants is simply ludicrous.
Since you refuse to discuss the actual technologies and subjects raised in the original posting, I really cannot imagine what you feel you are contributing here.
You state 'the technologies proposed are not very good ways to produce electricity' - and then provide neither argumentation nor reference for your contention.
Presumably we are just meant to bow to your superior experience and wisdom?
Don't bother wasting my time or anyone else's by reply, since you are obviously incapable of considered debate.

Paul Dietz

Split Water into monoatomic H+H+O using ZPE.
Hello? What part of Free Energy do you not get?

You'll have to excuse us. We're unable to tune in to the voices in your head that tell you these things.

Jules

Careful, Paul. 50 years from now, your sarcastic quote might be unearthed from the archives as an example of willful ignorance. You might just join the ranks of other closeminded pundits who confidently stated that:

- heavier than air flight was impossible
- the atom would never be split
- man would never walk on the moon

Sarcastic posturing is a poor substitute for genuine curiosity. Enjoy your ignorance...

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