WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Breakthroughs in clean energy technology could boost the U.S. economy by more than $155 billion a year and create more than 1.1 million new jobs by 2030, Google said in a report on Tuesday.
The study by the internet search giant’s philanthropic arm examined the possible benefits of aggressive innovations in clean power generation, grid-storage, electric vehicle and natural gas technologies.
“This project’s analysis suggests that breakthroughs in clean energy technologies could meaningfully improve the quality of our lives,” the report said.
In addition to improving the economy, development of new energy technology would reduce U.S. household energy costs by $942 a year, lower oil consumption by more than 1.1 billion barrels a year and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent by 2030.
The analysis did not consider the best ways to drive innovation or attempt to predict what technologies would be developed. Breakthrough levels in the report were also highly ambitious and “would be challenging to reach even with a much more concerted push on innovation than at present.”
Google has pledged to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in solar, wind and geothermal technologies to help make renewables cost competitive with coal.
In its report, Google found that the impact of clean energy breakthroughs would be enhanced if coupled with government policies such as a clean energy standard and increased EPA regulations on coal or with a $30 a ton fee on carbon emitted by the power-sector.
Clean energy policies combined with technological breakthroughs would increase GDP by $244 billion a year and create 1.9 million jobs by 2030.
“Breakthroughs in clean energy technology can reduce the cost associated with implementing policies such as Clean Energy Standards or carbon prices -- growing the economy while de-carbonizing our energy use,” the report said.
At the same time, the report said government policies can magnify the benefits of technology breakthroughs by promoting cleaner energy sources over those with high emissions.
Earlier this month, Google said it would finance a $280 million residential solar power project with SolarCity.
Google, along with several other companies, is also backing a $5 billion transmission line that would transport electricity from wind farms off the Atlantic.
Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid