Google (GOOG) Gets Into Alternative Energy Investing

Google (GOOG) Gets Into Alternative Energy Investing
Photo: blucarbnpinwheel, Creative Commons, Flickr
There are a lot of thoughts out there about alternative energy, especially now that oil prices are going up again. And one of the latest forays into alternative energy is being conducted by Google (GOOG).

Google, through its charitable arm, has offered almost $11 million for research on geothermal energy. And this large amount makes Google a larger investor in geothermal energy than even the U.S. government. The potential for geothermal energy is also rather huge, reports Scientific American:

For $1 billion over the next 40 years, the U.S. could develop 100 gigawatts (a gigawatt equals one billion watts) of electricity generation that emits no air pollution and pumps out power to the grid even more reliably than coal-fired power plants, according to scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In other countries (Japan and Australia, plus Europe — you know the other developed nations), geothermal plants and projects are underway. But the U.S., as it does in so many areas of alternative energy, is lagging behind. And more research is needed. There are several problems that need to be overcome in terms of making geothermal energy viable:

  • Drilling — including deep drilling — is required.
  • Advanced technology is needed.
  • Figuring out how to harness the Earth’s tremendous internal heat can be difficult.

Additionally, there are environmental concerns as well. While geothermal energy would be emission free, the processes that gets us to that energy may not be. Apparatuses need to be built and transported, and well, it’s still drilling. On the other hand, though, it would probably be a lot less polluting than coal or oil overall.

What do you think of geothermal energy as a source for the future?

Disclosure: I do not invest in GOOG, although I am thinking about it. I do use the search engine rather regularly, though.

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