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It’s Been a Decade Since Google Jumped Into Energy. Is It Any Closer to a Moonshot?

It’s been 10 years since Google shifted some of its attention from bits and bytes toward the world of therms and electrons.

It started with a wide-ranging investment and R&D initiative, called RE<C, designed to make renewables cheaper than coal. That initiative was abandoned in 2011 after engineers realized they were tackling the wrong problems.

Today, new renewables are far more competitive than coal. But the economic shift didn’t play out in the way Google imagined.

In the decade since, Google has since dabbled in pretty much everything — power electronics, home energy analytics, smart thermostats, residential geothermal, flying wind, solar lead generation, autonomous cars, and direct corporate procurement.

What can we conclude about the company’s track record? And at a time of uncertainty in both venture capital and government support, is Google the best vessel for cleantech R&D?

More here.


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