As Congress wrestled with the $700 billion bailout program, Google has come up with another massive spending program. Google wants the Federal government to spend $4.4 trillion to subsidize renewable energy. Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO quipped, “Given the apparent willingness of the U.S. government to write big checks in a crisis, we can do this on Monday.”
Google calls for replacing all of our coal-fired electricity generation with natural gas and renewables by 2030. Below is a chart from the Energy Information Administration which shows the source of the energy we use in the United States:
Coal accounts for 22% of all energy use and 49% of electricity generation, as shown below. The renewables that Google prefers, wind and solar, only produce 6% of the renewable energy we produce in America and renewables only produce 7% of the total energy use.
Google’s energy scheme is, remarkably, anti-energy. There is no shortage of energy resources in the United States. We have large amounts of oil, coal, natural gas, and oil shale resources. But contrary to the will of 70% of Americans who favor increased offshore drilling and exploration, Google would like to use expensive and intermittent technologies like wind and solar power.
If Google believes that renewables are the future, Google should lead the way and prove that it can use only wind and solar to power its buildings and datacenters. These facilities use large amounts of energy and unlike wind and solar, they are expected to deliver Google products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. At the very best locations, wind turbines only produce energy 40% of the time.
Google is just the latest addition to the next generation of rent seekers (Enron, T. Boone Pickens, etc.) who plan to benefit from political connections. Instead of relying on politicians to achieve its goals, Google should do what it has always done and create products and services that consumers want to use.
There is nothing stopping Google from becoming an electricity provider. Instead of asking the American people for $4.4 trillion to bailout their energy dream, they should go into the electricity business and demonstrate that it is possible to produce wind and solar energy at a price in the same ballpark as energy produced from coal.
Google has spent millions on research on renewables. They should be applauded for that. But instead of soaking the taxpayers to achieve their energy dreams, they should continue to spend their own money.