Google is planning to spend hundreds of millions to assist in the development of renewable energy technologies, InformationWeek reports.
Google honchos Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced Google will launch an initiative, called RE, in which it will work with other companies, research and development labs, and universities in developing renewable energy technologies.
The objective of the program will be to speed the development of technologies that can harness solar, geothermal, wind, or other renewable energy sources to generate a gigawatt of electricity at a lower cost than “dirty technologies” such as coal-powered plants, according to InformationWeek.
Google’s Page says for an alternative to be competitive, it would have to generate power at a cost of US1 cent to US3 cents per kilowatt-hour.
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In the first instance, Google plans to focus on solar power projects, and plans to fork our tens of millions on R&D in that area next year. It also plans to hire up to 30 engineers and energy experts to guide its effort.
It is not yet clear to what extent Google hopes to make money from its renewable energy program, although it may looking at a share in ownership or licensing fees from technologies it helps foster. According to co-founder Brin, however, profit is not their chief motivation. “We don’t feel we have to own every piece [of future inventions], we just want the problem solved,” he says.