Business leaders: Make renewable energy
Aug 19, 2008 - Oskar Garcia -The Associated
LAS VEGAS - Representatives from corporate
giants Google Inc. and General Electric Co. said Tuesday
that transitioning the United States to renewable energy
on a large scale would be possible - if renewable energy
Dan Reicher, director for climate change and
energy initiatives at Google.org, told a group of politicians
and energy experts meeting in Las Vegas that renewable energy
options will remain "boutique" industries unless their costs
are cut to make them competitive with coal and other widely
used power sources.
The group met at the University of Nevada,
Las Vegas and said it hoped to develop a national energy
agenda to take to the Democratic and Republican parties
at their upcoming conventions.
"There's a whole set of factors that go into
the ultimate cost of energy," Reicher said after announcing
a new plan for Google to invest more than $10 million to
develop "enhanced geothermal systems" technology to generate
energy from rocks deep below the earth's surface.
Google's project replicates traditional geothermal
systems deep below the Earth's surface by circulating water
through hot rock and running the steam through a turbine
that generates electricity.
Google said its goal was to produce one gigawatt
of renewable energy capacity - enough to power a major city.
"These are all high capital costs projects,"
One by one, speakers at the National Clean
Energy Summit touted the benefits of various energy-related
initiatives: How large-scale solar power could generate
thousands of jobs, why wind power could lessen America's
dependence on foreign oil. Extending tax credits, establishing
caps on carbon emissions and modernizing the nation's electricity
grid - ideas speakers said would be crucial to building
a "green" economy.
A series of panels included presentations
on job growth in the renewable energy industry, improving
efficiency for businesses and government's role in encouraging
a transition from fossil fuels, but they featured little
in the way of back-and-forth discussion.
General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt
did not attend, but said in a video that the government
and the business community need to move forward.
"The technology exists, the time is now,"
he said. "We need a call to action - not a call to go to
Former President Bill Clinton laid out a 10-point
plan Monday that included expanded research for carbon dioxide
storage and accelerating a shift toward plug-in hybrid electric
Texas oil baron T. Boone Pickens also presented
his plan to develop wind energy to generate 20 percent of
the nation's electricity, then use natural gas to power
cars until hydrogen or plug-in electric cars become widely
"I don't see many people from my party," said
Pickens, a Republican. "I'm making new friends, and that's
Former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin
and Utah Gov. John Huntsman also addressed the group. New
York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was scheduled to spek later
in the day.
___ On the Net:
National Clean Energy Summit: http://www.cleanenergysummit.org/
Google.org Enhanced Geothermal Systems: http://www.google.org/egs/