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Google Pulls the Plug on Renewable Energy Program

Google has announced it will discontinue its Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative.

The initiative was developed as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy. RE<C made investments in companies working on potentially breakthrough technologies, including companies like Brightsource Energy and eSolar to help expand their work on concentrating solar power technology, and in Potter Drilling to advance its innovative geothermal drilling technology. RE<C also sponsored research to develop the first Geothermal Map of the US, helping better understand the potential for geothermal energy to provide renewable power that’s always available. Additionally, an engineering team worked to improve a type of concentrating solar power technology called the solar power tower.

"At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level. So we’ve published our results to help others in the field continue to advance the state of power tower technology, and we’ve closed our efforts. We will continue our work to generate cleaner, more efficient energy—including our on-campus efforts, procuring renewable energy for our data centers, making our data centers even more efficient and investing more than $850 million in renewable energy technologies," Google said in a blog post.

The announcement comes as President Obama's program to fund renewable energy initiatives expires at the end of this year. The program backed $32.9 billion in energy projects and was an incentive for companies such as Google and Citigroup to invest in solar and wind projects.

Renewal of the program is unlikely due to the current economic climate.



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