Lasted edited by Andrew Munsey, updated on June 15, 2016 at 1:25 am.
The energy team at Google has been crunching the numbers to see how we could greatly reduce fossil fuel use by 2030. Announced on Oct. 1, 2008, their analysis, led by Jeffery Greenblatt, suggests a potential path to weaning the U.S. off of coal and oil for electricity generation by 2030 (with some remaining use of natural gas as well as nuclear), and cutting oil use for cars by 40%. A big chunk of that portfolio would come from energy savings through increased efficiency and conservation, essentially holding the total energy used steady at around 4.4 Terawatts over that period. An updated version (2.0) was released in 2009 to include several changes based on internal feedback and comments from readers.
Posted by Dan Reicher, Director, Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, and Jeffery Greenblatt, Climate and Energy Technology Manager, Google.org
(1) Reduce demand by doing more with less:
We should start with the low-hanging fruit by reducing energy demand through energy efficiency -- adopting technologies and practices that allow us to do more with less. At Google, we've seen the benefits of this approach. We identified $5M in building efficiency investments with a 2.5 year payback. We've also designed our own data centers to run more efficiently, and we believe they are the most efficient in the world. On a smaller scale, personal computers can also become much more efficient. A typical desktop PC wastes nearly half the power it consumes. Last year, Bill Weihl, our Green Energy Czar, worked with industry partners to create the Climate Savers Computing Initiative to raise energy efficiency standards for personal computers and servers. If we meet our goals, these standards will cut energy consumption by the equivalent of 10-20 coal-fired power plants by 2010.
Government can have a big impact on achieving greater efficiency. California's aggressive building codes, efficiency standards and utility programs have helped the state keep per-capita energy use flat for years, while consumption in much of the rest of the country has grown significantly. Enacting similar policies at the national level would help even more.
We also need to give the American people opportunities to be more efficient. The way we buy electricity today is like going to a store without seeing prices: we pick what we want, and receive an unintelligible bill at the end of the month. When homes are equipped with smart meters and real-time pricing, research shows that energy use typically drops. Google is looking at ways that we can use our information technology and our reach to help increase awareness and bring better, real-time information to consumers.
(2) Develop renewable energy that is cheaper than coal (RE