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Google is offering millions in initiatives to help the environment

Using, the philanthropic arm of Google, the Mountain View, California company awarded a $1 million-grant for hybrid electric vehicle development and plans on offering up to $10 million in grants to support the vehicles.  The RechargeIT initiative "aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology."  

Companies and universities interested in the grant money for alternative transportation research will have to present official proposals to Google later this summer.

"Climate Change:  mitigate the effect of climate change on the poor by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and supporting clean energy sources," is published on the front page of the official web site.

The $1 million grant was offered to help support the development and adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.  Plug-in cars are different than other clean-cars because regular hybrids use battery power but still rely on combustion engines -- plug-in cars are able to utilize electric power for up to 30 miles before having to rely on a gas engine.

Several companies -- including Toyota, Honda and General Motors -- are actively working on plug-in hybrid vehicles.  

In other environmental news, Google recently turned on the solar panels which cover much of the roof tops on the company's Mountain View corporate campus.  The panels are able to produce up to 1.6 megawatts of energy, which is enough to offer as much as one-third of the entire campuses energy use.  

Google previously announced a coalition of companies and organizations that plan to help save energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

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Like to see more of this style solar
By Hoser McMoose on 6/20/2007 3:22:04 PM , Rating: 2
This is the sort of project where I think solar power can really help out. The big problem with solar is the cost involved, and a lot of that cost comes from the fact that you need a rather large area covered with panels. In this case that real estate cost is essentially a sunk cost, Google's going to have a rooftop on their building whether there are solar panels there or not. As a result they only have the upfront costs of purchasing the equipment and the on-going maintenance costs to worry about.

Of course, it does help that they are in California which is probably the best spot in North America for solar power. Due to the fairly high levels of solar energy hitting most of that state vs. the high cost of conventional power, solar panels pay for themselves much more quickly than in most other states, and that's without taking into account government subsidies.

Slight side: all electricity production is HEAVILY subsidized in various forms and I believe that if all these subsidies were removed coal would become exorbitantly expensive while wind would probably be the cheapest with solar being much more competitive. Of course, this isn't going to happen any time soon.

By number999 on 6/21/2007 1:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
Another advantage is in metering. The output of the solar panels is during mid-day. This is also the highest cost of metered power. The solar cells offset that need and are more cost efficient in this time period, offsetting the higher utility rates during that period of the day and lowering the need of the utility to put peak generation on to meet the peak demand.

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