Just so everyone's clear, the reason that Google (along with Chevron, Wells Fargo, and a number of other big companies with large tax liabilities) are investing in renewable energy is to take advantage of the massive tax credits that come with the investment. There simply aren't that many companies with tax liabilities large enough to make investments in tax equity like this attractive, and Google is one of them.
So, good for Google. It makes a lot of sense for them to do this and I'm glad to see it happening.
How do we know whether or not a technology is a "future technology" if it is unprofitable without tax credits? Would car companies have spent millions of engineering hours on hydrogen vehicles if the government didn't pay them to do so in the 00's? Maybe it would have been better for mankind if they didn't.
Broad incentives are better than targeted incentives. The government is bad at picking future technologies. See ethanol.
IBM and ATT had major labs and were vitally interested in computers talking to one another as early as the late 1950s and early 1960s. Bell Labs invented UNIX in 1969; it made the internet possible. IBM invented FORTRAN and hard drives in 1956. Bell transmitted packet data over lines in 1958. Texas Instruments invented integrated circuits in 1958. In 1961 Leonard Kleinrock published a paper on packet switching networks. Bell Labs made the first modem in 1961. Digital Equipment Corporation produced the first minicomputer in 1964. In 1965 time sharing at MIT and mail command started. Intel began in 1968. The year 1966 saw the first use of fiber optics to carry telephone signals.
Yes, the RAND corporation came up with a design for a decentralized network that could continue to communicate in case of a nuclear attack. However, they did not invent all of the technology that makes the internet possible.
Well, taxes are surely one big reason, but not the only reason. Bloomberg invests in renewable energy because it is the personal view of the majority shareholder that we should be doing it. We get 58% of our energy from wind power and offset an additional 25% by purchasing GREEN-E certified biomass certificates (RECs).
Yes, I agree.. not to say that there isn't direct investment as well, but at a much smaller scale. We built solar farms to power our offices in NJ (50% @ 1.8MW) and San Francisco, but those direct investments only account for 1% of worldwide power usage.
Is that actually true? Seems like growth-focused tech companies with comparatively low earnings per revenue would have low tax liabilities, especially when compared to stable industries like oil and banking.