Google: Beyond Thunderdome
Velcroed together, stacked in racks, and lined up in back-to-back rows, the servers require a half-watt in cooling for every watt they use in processing, and Google leads the field in squeezing more servers into less space. Based on projected industry standard of 500 watts per square foot in 2011, the Dalles plant can be expected to demand about 103 megawatts of electricity–enough to power 82,000 homes, or a city the size of Tacoma, Washington.”
You can make money without doing evil. You can also make it without using so much fossil fuel. That’s the word from Google, which today unveiled a $4.4 trillion plan it says will reduce the nation’s dependence on coal and oil.
Google’s “Clean Energy 2030” plan as its described by Jeffery Greenblatt, Google.org’s climate and energy-technology manager, proposes to wean the U.S. off of coal and oil for electricity generation by 2030 by relying on power from wind, nuclear and geothermal sources instead. It also calls for raising the standard car fuel efficiency from 31 mpg to 45 mpg and increasing usage of plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars.
It’s an ambitious plan, to say the least. Expensive too–a jaw-dropping $4.4 trillion dollars. But Google (GOOG) believes it could generate net savings of $1 trillion over its 22-year span. It might even save our children’s grandchildren from a world in which they rove post-apocalyptic desert wastelands scavenging for food and gasoline, terrorized by marauding biker gangs. And who could place a monetary value on that, eh?
“We see a huge opportunity for the nation to confront our energy challenges,” Greenblatt explained. “In the process we will stimulate investment, create jobs, empower consumers and, by the way, help address climate change.”
And lest we think Google is hiding its own self interest (Read: Lower data center electric bills) behind a $4.4 trillion dollar mask of altruism, consider this remark from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who spoke at an event in San Francisco Wednesday evening: “We’re going to likely consume more energy,” he said. “We’d like the prices to go down … We save a lot of money when prices go down. It’s good for shareholders, good for earnings.”
And in the end, what’s wrong with approaching clean energy from a capitalist position? We certainly approach dirty energy in that way.