Google, The Biggest Energy Investor Outside Electric Companies

googlenergyGoogle is a search engine right? Yes, that is their bread and butter but their intensive use of the internet means they spend a lot of money on energy.

Anytime Google can find a way to shave the cost of energy usage they stand to add tens of millions to their bottom line.

For Google to play around with energy investments is something that will always be worth it for them to do.

Google has spent over $1 billion on investments and contracts for renewable power. They have invested in some losing technology such as a wind farm in Vega Texas but they have bet on a few winners as well.

Google has even gone so far as to bet on a flying wind turbine company by outright buying the company and seeing what they can do to make it work in a commercial application.

You can find Google’s footprint all over California with investments in expanding an offshore electric grid for use with wind turbines off the Atlantic coast.

They have $168 million tied up in a solar project in California that has some environmentalists outraged because Ivanpah Valley serves as a critical linkage for the endangered desert tortoise.

The solar panels might possibly destroy the turtles habitat and burn and kill birds as the solar mirrors beam heat to a central tower.

The renewable energy projects that Google is invested in all have the ironic twist of cleaning the environment by getting away from fossil fuels while at the same time killing off rare and exotic bird and animal species.

Update: Ivanpah solar plant is now confirmed to only generate 25 % of its promised electricity generation capacity and they are now asking that the government (aka American tax payers) to pay for a large chunk of the federal loan. They want a $ 539 million grant to help pay down on the $1.6 billion loan. I am going to make another easy prediction here.

I bet the Obama administration approves the request and Google and the rest of the Ivanpah Valley solar investors get this free money from the investors which they were likely promised behind closed doors a long time ago.

All in all Google has the equivalent investment in renewable energy of the power generation capability of Hoover Dam. Their energy investments exceed 2 gigawatts of power generation capacity.

There is a little known company Google owns that has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission known as Google Energy.

Google Energy, can sell wholesale electricity generated from all it’s various power generation investments. Beyond large investment companies like JP Morgan Chase and electric companies there is not a single company in existence like Google that has major stand-alone power projects of these sizes.

There is a great reason Google is in the energy business. Consider that in in 2011 Google used 2.7 million megawatt-hours of power or a year’s worth of electric service for 243,000 households. That is as big as Austin guys!

Google says they are making money with their energy investments although they have refused to disclose earnings. I imagine the government subsidies given to solar is where Google is recouping most of their investment cost which results in earnings.

You have to wonder if the Presidents administration has been giving Google many of the sweetheart subsidy deals that go to wind and solar manufacturers and power generators?

I imagine when earnings are released you will see that without the governments help Google would likely have never considered some of these investments.

Update: Google’s Green Energy Brag: $375 Million from Taxpayers (or more)

Update: Google-Owned Solar Company Requests $540 Million Bailout To Help Pay $1.6 Billion Loan

In summary as Google tries to find more ways to give back to the environment in a positive way the tax payers like you and me look forward to the day when solar and wind energy is cheap enough to not require tax payer funding that make large companies like Google look good while we sit back and eat the cost.

38 Percent of Electricity Comes From Coal Yet Many Plants To Close to Save Planet From CO2 Emissions?

co2The President’s Climate Action Plan 2013 (ObamaAir Tax) has shown it’s main attack will be on coal power.

When you see those smoke stacks for coal power plants that isn’t smoke but steam from water, albeit there are some particulate in there that actually is pollution.

The EPA would like you to think that is dirty black smoke coming from those stacks which is why they often print coal power plant steam as a black and white picture.

Coal power plants do have a pollution problem that we must continue to address and retrofit these plants to filter out mercury but the steam coming out of the top of these is simply steam. The EPA though is mainly concerned about CO2?

The major opposition to coal power from looking at The President’s Climate Action Plan has to do with CO2 emissions which is about as natural as an emission as you can get.

Water, plants, animals, humans, and most natural living things give off CO2.

To think that man-made CO2 is really destroying the earth and must require the shutting down of the equivalent of 11 states electricity service power is ridiculous.

priceThe estimate is that Obama’s Assault on Coal will Lead to an 80% Electricity rate hike. This is not a scare tactic as you can see in places like Germany where similar CO2 emission standards have resulted in similar rate hikes.

Ironically Germany being far from our example of a conservative country has drastically reversed course from it’s benchmark level state wide solar electric grid.

After rates exceeded 24 cents per kilowatt hour the public opinion soured on the green movement as the risk-reward was way out of whack.

Germany’s rush for coal continues even now into 2013. After opening two new coal power stations in 2012, 6 additional ones are due to open this year, with a combined capacity of 5800MW, enough to provide 7% of Germany’s electricity needs

The governments own estimates from the graph the US Department of Energy has released show what we can expect our electricity prices to do.

Do you really want to pay 30 – 40 cents per kilowatt hour for your electric rate for the sole purpose of reducing CO2.

In just a few years you can expect to pay 15 cents per kilowatt hour for your electric service. I expect any government estimations to be far off and so it will likely be more like 18 – 20 cents per kilowatt hour.

If you use 1,000 kilowatt hours that comes out to about $150 a month before taxes with a 15 cent rate. When using 2,000 kilowatt hours your bill would be $300 a month.

Families across the U.S. pay 11% less for electricity in states where more than half comes from coal.

As fossil fuels have become cheaper we have seen the average U.S. household pay 2.5% less for electricity this summer making it the 3rd straight summer decline.

Just as electricity starts getting affordable the government wants to close the cheapest forms of electricity generation and make you think renewable energy will catch up.

I promise you the renewable energy will not catch up in time to keep your electricity bill at a similar price as you were paying. This would make sense if we kept coal working and clean with new retrofits while slowly expanding our grid with renewable sources of electric power.

The most sensible approach would be the smaller extremely cheap forms of electricity generated with these ultra-small nuclear reactors being developed.

Solar has proven to be a disaster not just in the US but in Germany as well. Many of the large US solar grid tie-ins have ballooned in cost way out of line with their budget and when removing subsidies shows that their per kilowatt hour rate exceeds 16 cents per kilowatt hour.

Solyndra and First Solar are two government solar schemes full of fraud and failures and now the president is stepping into phase two of more of the same with ObamaAir 2013 Clean Air Act and Tax.

If the government wants carbon free energy why not start with the cheapest source which is Nuclear energy. It’s America’s largest carbon-free electricity generator out there.

The innovations in nuclear are truly amazing and much more innovative compared to the faulty solar projects the government has installed in Arizona deserts and require hardly any land mass.

As cheap forms of carbon-free electricity take off such as nuclear than consider taking coal power offline.

What is happening is that the president is simply bowing to the wishes of those who gave him his power. The green movement hates coal and wants it gone immediately.

The lies that solar is as cheap as fossil fuels is used to get the rest of the public on board but in the end the sticker shock will effect the average Joe in the US like it has done in Germany.

The Obama administration will have to back track from their green agenda just as Germany is doing and employ a more sensible approach but this won’t happen until billions of tax payer dollars are wasted in the process.

And why do we have to put up with this? The politicians have enough public support and this green agenda is their power, it’s what keeps them in office, and helps silence their detractors.

They can simply point to solar and wind being for good and oil and fossil fuels being evil and most people can understand how this could be a fight against pollution and a modern day solution even while they never consider the financial cost.

In summary everything has a risk reward ratio, a budget, a capital payoff amount, and tax payers who pay for all of this. We shouldn’t be used to support a green agenda which is being used more for political gain than cheaper cleaner energy for the citizens.


Scientists Develop Stimulus to Turn Seawater Into Hydrogen Fuel

hydrogenAustralian Scientists have developed a new kind of catalyst that can turn seawater into hydrogen fuel.

This type of technology has already been available but in the past it always required more energy to convert seawater to hydrogen fuel than it produced in fuel.

This new development can create much more hydrogen fuel and energy than it requires to convert it into this fuel.

Several scientists at the Australia University of Wollongong have invented a way to turn sea water into hydrogen in order to produce a virtually unlimited clean energy source.

Does this sound like something out of Back To The Future? It definitely sounds like a sci-phi dream come true but this is much more than a dream as these scientists have achieved the remarkable.

Their system can take five liters of sea water and produce enough hydrogen to provide electricity service to the average home and an electric car for an entire day.

We are talking about energy for an Australian household. Remember it gets kind of hot in Australia so this is no small amount of energy we are talking about.

This team of scientists is located at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES). Their technology relies on a light assisted catalyst that does not use as much energy to start the water oxidation process as this technique has needed in the past.

The catalyst process is the most important process to get right in order to create hydrogen fuel at an affordable cost which requires an efficient method of splitting water to produce hydrogen fuel.

I have spoken with scientists and intelligent college students about the wonders of hydrogen fuel and using water to power things and the conversation always gets back to the fact that it costs too much money to convert water to hydrogen.

If your fuel source needs more energy input to create the eventual energy output than how is that going to help anything or anyone out? It doesn’t which is why this little idea has yet to see the light of day until now.

When you can start up the oxidation process with less energy than is output you are on to something that offers a valuable energy solution for society but yet you still have the problem of the creation of deadly chlorine gas that is produced in the process.

When seawater goes through the oxidation process it creates a poisonous chlorine gas that then creates a host of other problems that need a solution.

The good news is that with the help of Professor Jun Chen and Professor Gerry Swiegers an artificial chlorophyll has been created that lays on a thin conductive metal film that itself acts as a catalyst to start the splitting of water.

This catalyst may also assist not only in creating cheap hydrogen fuel but also reduce the negative effects of the poisonous gas that is created in the process.

After reading selections from the journal of Chemical Science we learned that Professor Jun Chen’s flexible polymer would allow this new fuel source conversion to be created much easier for many different applications than your standard metal semiconductor.

The major benefit to this new technology is the cheap renewable fuel source we now have available and a secondary but almost as important benefit is the flexibility with which this can be used in many different portable hydrogen-producing applications.

These scientists achievement is dual in nature as they have gone beyond just inventing a cheap fuel source by inventing a way to use it practically through it’s small flexible portable technology.


Wall Socket Named Inlet Conserves Energy While Keeping Children Safe

inlet2Have you noticed not much has changed with the electric outlet over the last 50 years. The appearance and it’s function has remained basically the same.

The company known as LivingPlus has created a product called INLET and is trying to change this outdated outlet problem.

The INLET promises to change the look and efficiency of the outlet as well as make it safer for children.

This product can be put in a normal duplex unit and offers a high capacity 2.1v USB charger and 3 tamper proof outlets.

Instead of plugging into old power technology that wastes energy this company wants you to use the INLET because it’s awesome looking, it’s safe, and it saves you money on electricity.

The average US home has 75 outlets and they are unsightly little things that pose a danger to your children and leak out electricity when unused appliances are left plugged in.

Did you know approximately 2,400 children receive hospital care every year for electrical injury from inserting an object in an outlet?

One big problem with old outlets are the phantom loads that get wasted and end up as a dollar amount on your monthly electric bill. People routinely leave appliances they are not using plugged in that allows these loads to leak out. The INLET solves this money wasting dilemma.

The old duplex outlet fails to address the needs of modern day uses of the outlet and we think it’s worth checking out.

The INLET promises to continue to get smarter while maintaining a pleasing look. Smart applications will be one of the prominent features of the product so consider that home automation and home power management via a smart phone will be a likely addition.

This summer 2013 the INLET will hit the market and promises to beautify the living environment, increase child safety, and manage energy all the while increasing the wall outlets utility.

The INLET can be used to power old and new technology and offers an unplug button. Simply by turning off the button you turn off the possibility of wasted energy via phantom loads.

Although not the most important feature, the unit is made so that it can run flush with the wall giving it a nice aesthetic feel. The look of the outlet was made to give it a modern 2013 look instead of the current antiquated 1913 look.

You can read more about this device here: LivingPlug

Scientists Create Lithium Ion Battery that Can Charge Electric Car for 27 Years

lihium-ion-batteryScientists at the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research in Baden-Wurttemburg have created the most efficient battery yet all while using your basic lithium-ion technology.

These super li-on batteries may be the next step in our energy future as energy storage is what the electric grid needs in order to insure affordable electricity service during peak demand times.

The batteries are expected to maintain 85 % of their charging capacity even after being used everyday for 27.4 years.

After you charge and discharge this battery 10,000 plus times the car using this battery would still be roadworthy and going strong.

The power density of the battery is 1,100 watts per kilogram which gives you short charging times and fast acceleration.

The ultimate goal would be to use this technology to store energy generated from wind and solar generators. The boon of the solar and wind industry is that they have no affordable way to store the energy for use during peak demand periods.

During peak demand solar and wind must rely upon natural gas and coal generation to provide the needed electricity service for their local areas.

Just having these tied in idle fossil fuel power plants sitting without generating electricity adds significant cost to even using solar and wind.

By having an efficient battery that can store solar and wind to be used at high demand periods may allow for these renewable energy systems to be self contained power plants that can evenly supply power 24/7 for a specified number of households.

These batteries could also be used to store excess energy created from fossil fuel sources for use during peak demand periods.

In summary you typically get an 8-10 year guarantee from EV makers so this is a giant improvement. Also, an energy density of 1,100 Watts per kilogram is 4 times that of most li-lion batteries. This is a remarkable advancement that will have a positive impact on the price of electricity and the price of electric cars. Consider that $45,000 is the average subsidy Tesla gets per car from the US government and we the tax payers are giving that away so that the ultra rich can have a cool play thing.

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