At a gathering of energy executive last night in San Francisco, Dan Reicher, director of climate change and energy initiatives at Google, said the company is looking at all options — backing companies as an early stage investor and directly supporting the construction of renewable energy power plants via project finance loans.
Already back in September Google’s Bill Weihl, who oversees Google’s green energy investments said the Mountain View, Calif., search engine giant was planning to directly invest and develop its own clean energy technology rather than farm out the R&D by investing in outside companies.
When Google launched its clean energy initiative in 2007 the company had initially set out to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in different clean energy startups. So far, only $50 million have been invested.
Currently Google backs utility-scale solar developers BrightSource Energy and eSolar, smart meter company Silver Spring Networks, and geothermal startup AltaRock Energy.
All have promising technology and ample R&D funding but many have found it challenging to secure financing to scale production and go commercial.
Reicher said he saw Google’s direct investment in renewables as a way to “broaden” the company’s “impact on energy,” via Seeking Alpha.