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RE < C

There are few companies in the world today, who are actively pursuing Clean Energy or Renewable Energy projects and Google is one of them. It's ironic, that an internet company has been a premier venture capitalist in funding of projects/companies like Shepherds flat project or BrightSource projects. In last 2 weeks alone, Google has invested close to 350 million$ in clean energy project. That is staggering sum for a company whose 97% of the revenues comes from Search.
Why does Google venture outside it's core area and invest in these projects? What's the real benefits to Google in long term? Is it pure value based proposition or is Google genuinely interested in clean energy projects?
A quick search on Google reveals a project titled, "RE < C". Renewable Energy less than Coal based energy. This program was started in 2007 and Google has been active since then. In fact, Google partners and works closely with a lot of small companies on R & D and determine if their ideas can translate in to real products. Their interest in this project, might be purely based on numbers and profitability - but it is quite heartening to see a big corporation making an effort to reduce carbon emission by helping funding this small projects.
Google also might be thinking "future" -- where an entire data center can be handled by using grids based on the projects currently funded.

I hope they continue their effort in funding small ideas and projects that will bring real change in renewable energy.


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