News roundup: 100 percent renewables for U.S., Google invests in clean energy, support for action on climate

18 February 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

This Tuesday, a new report wants the U.S. to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2050, Google continues to invest in renewables, and a majority of Americans support action to combat climate change.

Stanford University engineering professor Mark Jacobson wants America running on 100 percent renewable energy, one state at a time:

  • Professor Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, and his colleagues, presented their ideas for transitioning to renewable energy in all 50 states at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago on Saturday.
  • The 50-state roadmap was launched on the website of The Solutions Project, a national outreach effort led by Jacobson, actor Mark Ruffalo - he played the Hulk in The Avengers - film director Josh Fox, and others, to raise public awareness about switching to clean energy produced entirely by wind, water, and sunlight. In fact, Leilani Munter, a professional racecar driver and Solutions Project member, publicized the plan on Saturday during an event at the Daytona National Speedway in Daytona, Fla.
  • "Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the most significant problems facing the world today. Unfortunately, scientific results are often glossed over," Jacobson said in the press release. "The Solutions Project was born with the vision of combining science with business, policy, and public outreach through social media and cultural leaders - often artists and entertainers who can get the information out - to study and simultaneously address these global challenges."

Google may be known for its ubiquitous nature on the internet, but the tech giant is also a serious investor in clean energy sources like wind power:

  • When you conduct a search on Google, your query goes across the Internet, hits a server, gets processed and is sent back to you in microseconds. You would be surprised how much energy is consumed in that process. In its latest quarter, Google spent $2.25 billion on data center and infrastructure spending, a huge area of costs for the company. That's one of the reasons the company is aggressively moving to solar, wind and other alternative energies to power its data centers and banks of servers scattered around the world.
  • "We've invested over a billion dollars in 15 projects that have the capacity to produce two gigawatts of power around the world, mostly in the U.S., but that's the equivalent of Hoover's Dam worth of power generation," said Rick Needham Google's director of energy and sustainability, standing along Google's solar arrays at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
  • And while Google isn't alone among Silicon Valley's top tech companies to embrace alternative energy usage, no other company is looking at solar and wind as integrated in fueling its internal operations and also making sizable external investments.

A new survey reports that most Americans are ready to see action against global warming and make it a high priority for Congress and the president:

  • A national survey conducted in the final months of 2013 finds that most Americans support national action on global warming and energy policies. Performed by investigators at Yale University and George Mason University, the survey discovers that 83% of Americans believe the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs, and 71% say global warming should be a high priority for the president and Congress.
  • Similarly, the survey says fewer than half of Democrats and Republicans support eliminating federal subsidies for the renewable energy industry.
  • “Much of our national dialogue about climate and energy policy focuses on divisions between the political parties,” explains lead researcher Edward Maibach of George Mason University. “Our findings show that while there are important policy differences between Democrats and Republicans, there is also some common ground on which the nation could build an effective response to climate change.”

Sources:

Shweta Iyer, “Using 100% Renewable Sources To Power America's Energy Demands: Interactive Map Shows How To Get There By 2050.” International Science Times. 16 February 2014.

Merk Berniker, “Google makes huge investment in clean energy.” CNBC. 16 February 2014.

Staff, “U.S. Survey Finds Majority Support For Action On Global Warming.” North American Windpower. 17 February 2014.