T. Boone Pickens has the Pickens Plan; Al Gore has his 'Generational Challenge to America'; both John McCain's and Barack Obama's renewable energy plans have been repeatedly articulated. Now Google has gotten into the energy policy act and proclaimed their vision of a green energy future. Under Clean Energy 2030, oal would be entirely eliminated from US electrical generation, oil used for transport would be reduced nearly 40% and foreign oil imports would be reduced by one-third. When Google gets into something, you know they're going to give it their all, so here's a summary of what they're proposing:
A full description of Clean Energy 2030 is available from Google, and I encourage everyone to examine it, but the main points are as follows. All the following changes are reductions from the 2008 energy use levels:
Clean Energy 2030 Summary
1. Fossil fuel-based electrical generation reduced by 88%
2. Transportation oil consumption reduced by 38%.
3. Foreign oil imports reduced by 33%.
4. Electrical sector CO2 emissions reduced by 95%.
5. Personal vehicle sector CO2 emissions reduced by 38%.
6. Overall US CO2 emissions reduced by 48%.
How to Do This
As to how to make all of this actually happen, Google recommends a number of steps similar to those touted by many in the renewable energy industry and the green movement in general.
In terms of renewable energy, "a long-term national commitment" such as a national renewable portfolio standard, carbon price, or long-term renewable energy tax incentives is required. Additionally, as Google has stated before, the nation's transmission capacity needs to be expanded and modernized. Greater public and private investment into renewable energy R&D; is required in order to bring renewables into cost parity with fossil fuels.
Energy efficiency measures needed include: A long-term commitment to energy efficiency by the federal government and states; and the development of a smart electric grid to allow electric consumers to better monitor their electricity use.
For personal vehicles: Public policy needs to support higher fuel efficiency standards, financial incentives to remove older vehicles from the fleet, encourage efficient (and plug-in) vehicle purchases. Another critical step is the development of infrastructure to support widespread deployment of electric plug-in vehicles.
And What Will All This Cost?
Google's version of the green energy revolution isn't exactly cheap, but the long term savings aren't exactly chump change either. In 2008 dollars, Google says that over the next 22 years its plan will cost about, wait for it, 4.4 trillion dollars. Yes, 4.4 trillion. But the expected monetary savings (leaving aside entirely uncalculated environmental benefits, like, well, still having a planet with a modicum of intact ecosystems) is calculated to be in the range of $5.4 trillion. So, provided we can muster the political willpower—for that's the stumbling block here—we can realize a net savings of $1.0 trillion dollars.
Definitely check out the full version of :: Clean Energy 2030. There's also more available at the :: Official Google Blog
Renewable Energy Plans
Wind Power to Displace Natural Gas for Electricity, Natural Gas to Power Cars: The Pickens Plan
'A Generational Challenge to Repower America': Al Gore's Energy & Climate 'Moon Shot' Speech
My Bottom Line is Green: McCain v Obama on Renewable Energy
Google & GE Joining Forces to Bring You Geothermal Power, Plug-In Vehicles and a Smart Grid
Google Gets Behind Geothermal, Invests Over $10 Million in Research
Google Invests in Aptera Motors and Lithium-Ion Battery Maker AtaCell