Internet search company Google yesterday committed hundreds of millions of dollars to renewable energy projects.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google co-founders, announced its initiative to produce electricity from renewable energy sources rather than coal. Mr Page said: “Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity [enough to power San Francisco] that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades.”

If Google achieved this, he said, the world would have the option of significantly reducing the greenhouse gases created by burning coal, a fuel used for 40 per cent of electricity supply at present.
The internet company said it expected to spend tens of millions of dollars in 2008 on research and development and related investments. It also anticipated investing hundreds of millions of dollars in breakthrough renewable energy projects that generate positive returns. Google said it expected a pay-off of hundred of millions of dollars in the near-term.