Google's Clean Energy Report Shows Potential for Profits


"Saving the world could also save us a lot of money."

Huffington Post, Joanna Zelman

Google made two major announcements yesterday. One was about a new Google social network, Google +, expected to compete with the likes of Facebook. The other announcement was that saving the world could also save us a lot of money. The latter revelation somehow fell unnoticed amid debate over the plus and minuses of Google +, but it is significant nonetheless.

Google's report, "The Impact of Clean Energy Innovation," aimed to measure the potential effects of clean energy on both the energy landscape and the U.S. economy.

The analysis was conducted by assuming that there were "aggressive hypothetical cost breakthroughs (BT) in clean power generation, grid-storage, electric vehicle, and natural gas technologies and compares them to Business as Usual (BAU) scenarios modeled to 2030 and 2050."

They found that, when compared to BAU in 2030, aggressive energy innovation alone could grow the U.S. economy by over $155 billion in GDP/year, create over 1.1 million new net jobs, and save U.S. consumers $942/household/year. Not to mention the environmental and security benefits—this model could reduce U.S. oil consumption by over 1.1 billion barrels/year and cut U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions by 13%.

In other words, aggressive clean energy innovation would not only help the environment, but also boost U.S. economic and security goals.

Additional scenarios added the "Clean Policy" path, where there were also federal incentives and mandates. With this path, the U.S. economy could grow by over $244 billion in GDP/year, and generate over 1.9 million jobs. The study also found that improvements in energy storage could simply lead to a greater use of coal.

The report also found that speed is key. Delaying innovation by just five years could result in $2.3-3.2 trillion in unrealized GDP and up to 1.4 million net unrealized jobs.

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