And given that they use so much energy they have to have entire power plants built just for their data centers, it makes sense that they’re thinking of ways to go green

From PC World:

The search giant unveiled a US$4.4 trillion plan Wednesday to reduce the U.S.’s dependency on fossil fuels and embrace alternative energy. The proposal would yield a net saving of $1 trillion by 2030 and slash U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 48 percent, according to Google, which said it had been busy “crunching the numbers.”

The plan involves weaning the U.S. off of coal for producing its electricity and turning to wind, solar and geothermal power instead. It would also cut oil use in cars by 40 percent and use electricity for personal transportation. Google said its goal in announcing the plan, called Clean Energy 2030, was to stimulate debate. […]

It deals primarily with two areas — electricity production and personal vehicles. The basics look like this:

Reduce energy use today: Naturally for Google, it starts with computers. Data centers and personal computers both can be operated much more efficiently, by unplugging PCs when they are not in use, for example. Building codes can be more aggressive, and “smart meters” in homes that give real-time pricing should encourage people to use less power. Pacific Gas & Electric is already installing such meters in northern California.

Electricity: The U.S. today produces half its electricity from coal, 20 percent each from natural gas and nuclear energy, and 1.5 percent from oil. The plan would replace coal and oil with primarily wind, solar and geothermal energy (using heat from inside the earth). It calls for keeping electricity demand at today’s level, which would lop 30 percent off the projected demand in 2030. Onshore and offshore wind would account for a further 29 percent of demand, solar 12 percent and geothermal 15 percent. Nuclear, hydro and natural gas would make up the rest.

You can look at the highlights of the proposal here, and on first read it sounds quite a bit like The Pickens Plan, although Pickens actually relies much more on natural gas to fuel our cars, and Google calls for more electric autos.

Still, it’s all movement in the right direction.

Say hello to the new space race!

Technology Google Unveils $4.4 Trillion Energy Plan