Google.org invests more than $10 million in breakthrough geothermal energy technology
Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) could supply thousands of times US energy needs
Mountain View, California (August 19, 2008) – In the continuing effort to develop electricity from renewable energy cheaper than from coal, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), through its philanthropic arm Google.org, announced $10.25 million in investments in a breakthrough energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). Today’s announcement also includes funding for research on next-generation geothermal resource mapping, EGS information tools, and a policy agenda for geothermal energy.
EGS expands the potential of geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. The traditional geothermal approach relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam and hot water. The EGS process, by comparison, replicates these conditions by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine.
A recent MIT report on EGS estimates that just 2% of the heat below the continental United States between 3 and 10 kilometers, depths within the range of current drilling technology, is more than 2,500 times the country’s total annual energy use.
"EGS could be the ‘killer app’ of the energy world. It has the potential to deliver vast quantities of power 24/7 and be captured nearly anywhere on the planet. And it would be a perfect complement to intermittent sources like solar and wind," said Dan Reicher, Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives for Google.org.
Google’s Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative focuses on solar thermal power, advanced wind, EGS and other potential breakthrough technologies. Google has set a goal to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity, enough to power a city the size of San Francisco, in years, not decades.
To advance EGS, Google.org announced funding for two companies and a university:
- AltaRock Energy, Inc.: $6.25 million investment to develop innovative technologies to achieve significant cost reductions and improved performance in EGS projects. For more information, please visit www.altarockenergy.com/.
- Potter Drilling, Inc.: $4 million investment in two tranches, to develop new approaches to lower the cost and expand the range of deep hard rock drilling, a critical element to large-scale deployment of EGS. For more information, please visit www.potterdrilling.com/.
- Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab: $489,521 grant to improve understanding of the size and distribution of geothermal energy resources and to update geothermal mapping of North America. For more information, please visit www.smu.edu/geothermal/.
"Innovation is the path to massive quantities of cleaner, cheaper energy. The people we’re funding today have a real shot at lowering the cost of EGS, and bringing us closer to our goal of Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal," added Dr. Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org.
"EGS is critical to the clean electricity revolution we need to solve the climate crisis, but EGS hasn’t received the attention it merits. That’s why we’re pressing for expanded support from government and increased investment from the private sector," said Reicher, "We’re big believers in EGS and we’re looking for more opportunities."
Today’s announcement represents the latest step in Google’s commitment to a clean energy future.
Google has been working hard on energy efficiency and making its business environmentally sustainable. To this end, the company has taken concrete steps to reduce its carbon footprint and accelerate improvements in green technology, including:
- Developing cutting-edge energy efficiency technology to power and cool its data centers in the U.S. and around the world using 50% less energy than the industry standard
- Generating electricity for its Mountain View campus from a 1.6 megawatt corporate solar panel installation, one of the largest in the U.S.
- Accelerating development and adoption of plug-in electric vehicles through the RechargeIT initiative (www.google.org/recharge/)
- Joining with other industry leaders to form the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a consortium that advocates the design and use of more energy-efficient computers and servers (www.climatesaverscomputing.org/)
- Working on policies that encourage renewable energy development and deployment, such as a U.S. Renewable Energy Standard
For more information on EGS, including a 3-D model of a project in Australia, a Google Earth layer, an introductory YouTube video, and our policy brief, see www.google.org/egs/.
For more information on the Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative, including $30 million in investments to advance solar thermal and advanced wind technologies, see www.google.org/rec.html.
For broadcast-standard video and other multimedia files for the announcement, see www.thenewsmarket.com/google.
For more information on Google’s commitment to a clean energy future, see www.google.com/renewableenergy.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including statements relating to our ability to develop electricity from renewable energy cheaper than from coal, the development of EGS technology, the expected supply and delivery of energy through EGS technology, our ability to produce renewable energy and the cost of EGS. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ include, among others, risks related to the development of EGS technology and our ability to identify and pursue the technologies necessary to achieve these goals, as well as those risks and uncertainties included under the captions "Risk Factors" and "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2008, which is on file with the SEC and is available on our investor relations website at investor.google.comand on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. All information provided in this release is as of August 19, 2008, and Google undertakes no duty to update this information.
About Google Inc.
Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit www.google.com.
Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, uses the power of information to help people better their lives. We develop and invest in tools and partnerships that can help bring shared knowledge to bear on the world’s most pressing challenges in the areas of climate change, economic development and global health. For more information, visit www.google.org.