Google axes clean energy hacking

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Google yesterday pulled the plug on an ambitious green-technology initiative, a casualty of the Internet giant's strategy to shed peripheral projects.

In a company blog, Google's senior vice president of operations and Google Fellow Urs Holzle listed "Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal" as one of seven projects that were being shut down because they didn't catch on as hoped.

Google had a team of engineers working on a sun-tracking mirror, or heliostat, that would be cheaper to manufacture and use less water than conventional concentrating solar products. Yesterday, the team published a number of technical recommendations and noted that solar photovoltaic technology has fallen substantially in price over the past few years for consumers. "At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level," Holzle said.