Google to Make Solar Energy Cheaper than Coal

Google logoGoogle is at it again, we’ve covered Google quite a bit, more than any other company I think. It’s just so nice to see a company with billions of dollars at their disposal directing their energy at improving the world (and yes, I know that Google is nowhere near perfect and Sun is more the environmentally friendly tech company).

This time around they are contuning their solar power drive by investing in companies that will encourage the use of renewable energy. They emphasize solar power, but they are not limiting the hundreds of millions of dollars they want to invest in solar power.

“Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades,” Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and president of products, said in a statement.

One gigawatt can power a city the size of San Francisco.

Google is seeking to capitalize on the recent excitement among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to apply the risk taking that computer, biotech and Internet businesses are famous for to the field of alternative energy production.

Google’s latest moves come as the price of a barrel of oil nears $100 and coal, which produces 40 percent of the world’s electricity, faces regulatory and environmental pressures that could drive up prices.

OLPC For You and Me

olpcThe One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project aims to bridge the digital divide by providing relatively inexpensive computers to kids in the developing world. The cost of the machine has unfortunately increased from their proposed $100 USD to almost double that, in oprder to ensure that they can still get these laptops out to the kids they are selling them as pairs.

You buy an OLPC laptop for yourself, but in doing so you also buy one to be donated to a child somewhere in the majority world.

The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.

Previously on Things Are Good: Cheap Laptop

IBM Turns Electronic Trash Into Solar Cache

IBM has started a new program that recycles old computer chips and converts them into solar panels. They are taking computer chips (which are usually chopped to bits) and ‘erasing’ the chip pattern then putting them as wafers in solar panels. This will surely make solar power cheaper in the future!

The 3 million scrapped wafers each year could be used to create solar panels to power 6,000 houses, IBM said.

“It’s a simple process but it really returns benefits on so many different levels,” Jagielski said. “Not only do we reduce our overall use of silicon, but then to be able to create a raw material for the solar panel industry is kind of a good story all the way around.”

Green Machines

The CBC has a feature on how technology and the environment interrelate. The feature emphasizes on how you can purchase technology that has a limited impact on the environment.

While it can be difficult to track down truly “green gear,” Radu’s interest in consumer electronics doesn’t necessarily have to run contrary to the way she chooses to live her everyday life. Products designed to have less impact on the environment – both from a manufacturing perspective and during day-to-day use – are reaching the market in greater numbers as producers pay attention to the growing ranks of eco-conscious consumers. Companies are also paying more attention to “greening” their public image.

Information Communication Technology for Social Justice

The Association for Progressive Communications has an article / interview on how communication technologies can be used for development. It’s a neat read to remind us that the internet and other new technology can be used for more than just LOLcats (I love LOLcats!).

I rather feel that WSIS showed two things, if only by default. First, that it is important to develop a common understanding of the potential of ICTs in development between the development community and the ICT community. This requires that both listen to one another’s priorities and issues. Second, that it is important to develop a much better evidence base concerning experience with ICTs in development. WSIS did neither of these, but it demonstrated their importance. Effective use of ICD is unlikely to occur without them being addressed much more effectively.

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