Google to Outspend US Government on Environment

It is always a good day for me when I get to write about Google. But the day gets even better when I get to combine Google with the environment; something that happens more often than you would imagine. With my ongoing report on the US 09 Budget, I’m well aware of just how little the US Government is going to be putting in to the environment.Let’s just make a note here – Green Options could invest more in the environment than the US Federal Government is planning.

A report is circulating regarding my favorite tech company, that they are pledging themselves to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in to big alternative-energy projects started by commercial businesses. They plan to focus on projects that have traditionally had a hard time getting financing. Thus, I would imagine the majority of such projects will get financing, considering Bush’s position on such things.

The executive in charge of their environmental push, Dan Reicher, said Wednesday that “There are a lot of technologies that get to the pilot scale and look promising, but the first few large commercial projects deploying those technologies, financing those can be extremely difficult.”

“Often the usual equity and debt players will say come back to us when you’ve demonstrated this at scale,” said Reicher, director of climate and energy initiatives for Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org.

Reicher referred to the “Valley of Death,” a term used in the technology industry to describe the difference between successfully developing a new technology and amassing scale. This is something that Google is aware of, and their pledge to invest such moneys as they can in to projects is hoped to alleviate this problem.

“When you get to building a commercial-scale project in the energy world, you can be looking easily at hundreds of millions or even across the billion dollar threshold,” Reicher said. “Over years we’ll be looking at hundreds of millions of dollars. So we’re very mindful of the Valley of Death.”

Google has already committed large amounts of finances to various green projects, both within their own company and without. They’ve committed $20 million to funding start-up firms researching solar-thermal and high-altitude wind power, and another $10 million to Pasadena, California-based eSolar Inc to support research and development on solar thermal power.

Authors Note – if you want to weigh Google’s proposed spending, check out my three part series on the US Budget. Check out Budget 09: How’d the Environment Do – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Reuters via ENN – Google to help green technologies amass scale

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Posted in Energy, Environment, Federal government, Money

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