Google announced that they will heavily fund research and development on renewable-energy technology, focusing on wind, solar, and geothermal power. Calling the project Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal, Google has an end goal of cleanly produced electricity that's less expensive than dirty-black-rock power -- and "within years, not decades." The company will allocate hundreds of millions of dollars total to the project, and tens of millions in 2008. ``We're a large consumer of energy due to our data centers, so we're a natural customer,'' Larry Page, Google's co-founder, said in an interview. ``We see opportunities to make significant investments that generate positive returns.'' The goal is to create a gigawatt of renewable energy, enough to power a city the size of San Francisco for less than it would cost using coal, in ``years, not in decades,'' Page said. Coal accounts for more than 50 percent of all U.S. power and is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions. Google is already working with Pasadena, California-based ESolar Inc., a solar-power company, and Alameda, California-based Makani Power Inc., a developer of wind energy. ``Climate change is a very important reason for this announcement but it's not the only reason,'' Google co-founder Sergey Brin said today on a conference call. ``There's a lot of demand'' for cheaper energy, he said.
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Sources: Grist, Bloomberg