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Good At One Thing?

November 23, 2011

One of the key growth areas a company can experience is the lesson that being good at one thing doesn’t mean that you’ll be good at everything by doing it the same way.  I’m not positive that Google gets that yet, but at least they’re admitting it doesn’t always work.  For example, deciding to become a player in renewable energy by applying people good at creating advertising space…?

When the project was announced back in 2007, Google was promising to spend tens of millions of dollars on making cleaner energy cheaper than traditional coal.

“Cheap renewable energy is not only critical for the environment but also vital for economic development in many places where there is limited affordable energy of any kind,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin said at the time.

“We want to apply the same creativity and innovation to the challenge of generating renewable electricity at globally significant scale, and produce it cheaper than from coal… Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades,” his buddy Larry Page enthused.

The Reg was fairly nice to Google in this one.  Really… deciding to put personal money into renewable resources is one thing, and looking for ways to reduce energy dependence for things like office space is always a good plan. (Disclaimer, my company is pretty public about dropping solar on the various campuses to reduce energy needs… good for us if we can afford to do it.)  But you have to remember, this is Google.

Google makes a strong case for building the most efficient datacenters in the world.  They still use a significant load of energy… there are so many datacenters in the Pacific NW because they’re located near hydro-power dams.  Some envelope doodles would tell you that a large datacenter could use in the tens of megawatts of power, and maybe topping into the hundreds fairly soon.  If Google really wanted to be cheaper than coal, they’d invest in nuclear, but that’s not going to happen.

In the mean time, I’m sure they’ll focus on purchasing nice and clean power from wind, water, solar, etc.  And they’ll probably also still buy coal power and keep it quiet.  In the least, they’re going to cool a bit on finding investments, likely becuase they realize that being idea people in one area doesn’t mean that they’ll be so good everywhere.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ellen D. permalink
    November 23, 2011 12:20 pm

    Renewable energy is apparently not as clean, green or renewable as the “greenies” and the government would like you to believe. Although the energy produced might be, the materials needed to build the infrastructure is not.

    Check out this article at Hot Air:
    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/22/the-myth-of-renewable-energy/

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