Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another View of Google's Clean Energy Push (GOOG)

Following up on yesterday's "Google: "Examining the impact of clean energy innovation" (GOOG)".
From our last link to some of Marc Gunther's writing, June 1 "General Electric’s Big bet on Natural Gas (GE)":
In a 2009 post, "GE, Cleantech and Your Tax Dollars" I said:
Marc Gunther is pretty green and has been for as long as I can remember. He's also a good analytical thinker.
Although he doesn't mention it, I find it astounding that GE's CEO Jeff Immelt is an advisor to President Obama at the same time his company has $51 Billion of a subsidiary's debt guaranteed by the FDIC.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss....
At the time, and for a couple years prior, many writers in the alt/green/clean space became cheerleaders for the companies, regardless of the underlying economics. Mr Gunther avoided that trap and remains someone I'll link to. Add to that the fact that Marc was dubious of GE's pronouncements and strategy under Jeff Immelt and I thought "Hey, this guy is seeing the stuff without the rose colored glasses". Cool...
From Marc Gunther's blog:

Google: Energy innovation will pay off but..

The folks at Google, not surprisingly, have enormous faith in the power of technology. So a group of them set out to see what technology breakthroughs in clean energy will mean to the economy, the environment and the typical American household.
They found good and bad news.
The good: Energy innovation could pay off big, benefiting GDP, jobs, energy security and reducing carbon emissions. It’ll even save homeowners money, over time.
Specifically, as Bill Weihl and Charles Baron write on the Google blog, here are the benefits of energy breakthroughs, when compared with a business as usual scenario. In their parentheses is even better news; those numbers reflect what clean energy technology can do when combined with stronger U.S. policy to promote clean energy and discourage the burning of fossil fuels:
  • Grow GDP by over $155 billion/year ($244 billion in our Clean Policy scenario)
  • Create over 1.1 million new full-time jobs/year (1.9 million with Clean Policy)
  • Reduce household energy costs by over $942/year ($995 with Clean Policy)
  • Reduce U.S. oil consumption by over 1.1 billion barrels/year
  • Reduce U.S. total carbon emissions by 13% in 2030 (21% with Clean Policy)
The not-so-good news is the last bullet: Reducing U.S. carbon emission by 13% by 2030, or even 21% under the more favorable clean policy scenario, won’t do much to reduce the threat of catastrophic climate change. The report also found that by  2050, innovation in the modeled technologies alone reduced CO2 emissions by 55% and by 63% when combined with policy. Those are under best-case assumptions....MUCH MORE
Also at Marc's blog:
Marks & Spencer: Sustainability, profits and a carbon-neutral bra
Do we need energy subsidies?