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Google reveals huge GDP value of clean energy innovation in US

Date
29 June 2011

NEW YORK: Google, a member of The Climate Group, has published a study, The Impact of Clean Energy Innovation, along with an associated website, which reveals that innovation in clean energy technology in the US can significantly cut greenhouse gases (GHGs), boost GDP and create over 1 million jobs.

Using McKinsey & Company’s US Low Carbon Economics Tool- a neutral, analytic set of models which estimate potential economic implications of policy and technology assumptions - Google explored how innovations in different energy types, ranging from clean power generation and energy storage to electric vehicles (EVs), can create new jobs, technology and a cleaner, more prosperous economy.

Results of the study showed that we must act now to achieve this Clean Revolution. The executive summary stated that a ‘mere five year delay’ in accelerating this innovation, could lead to $2.3 – 3.2 trillion in unrealized GDP, 1.2 – 1.4 million net unrealized jobs and 8-28 more gigatons of potential GHG emissions by 2050.

Topping Google’s technology action list was the need for better EVs and gas-electric hybrid cars, which could potentially make huge savings by 2030.

Other key findings from Google’s report include:

  • cheaper batteries could trigger the mass adoption of EVs. (If they were sold at $100 per kilowatt per hour of storage, plug-in vehicles could boast a 90% share of light duty vehicle sales)
  • when compared to ‘business as usual ‘ (BAU) in 2030, aggressive energy innovation could grow the US economy by over $155 million in GDP per year (by $244 billion, if layered with possible clean energy policies) and;
  • create over 1.1 million new net jobs and;
  • cut greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 13% (by 21% with Clean Policy)
  • combining clean energy policies with technology innovation greatly increased economic, security and pollution benefits.

Rupert Posner, Global Director of Energy, The Climate Group, says: “Google’s analysis reinforces the opportunities that a clean energy revolution offers, and the economic advantages of acting swiftly. It benefits GDP, jobs and security big time. It also shows that innovation in concert with smart policies can deliver a double whammy – more jobs and greater GDP. But while clean technology innovation is always positive, government policy ensures a faster adoption, and this study highlights just how crucial that supporting policy is to advance a Clean Revolution.”

Google’s analysis follows on from its RE<C program, which stands for ‘renewable energy cheaper than coal’, and saw Google working to develop cheaper clean energy.

Use Google's Clean Energy Innocation visualization website.

Read The Impact of Clean Energy Innovation report (PDF).

Compare your own scenarios with Google’s interactive visualization.

Read Google’s Public Policy Blog.

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