Google eyes Israeli geothermal firm Ormat

Search giant's clean-energy initiative will likely include investments in enhanced geothermal systems, which can draw more energy from underground than previous efforts.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica

Google is in discussions with Israeli geothermal company Ormat Technologies, a relationship that could lead to an investment, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli newspaper quoted an interview this past weekend with Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who praised Ormat and the other Israeli companies working in alternative energy. Google co-founder Larry Page also visited an Ormat geothermal plant in Nevada, the newspaper reported.

An Ormat geothermal power plant in Nevada. Ormat Technologies

Brin refused to say whether there are any imminent deals with Israeli energy companies.

Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org, has pledged to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in clean-energy companies. Last week, it was one of the investors in solar thermal power-plant designer and operator Bright Source Energy, which raised $115 million.

Executives at Google have been clear that so-called enhanced geothermal is on the list of technologies they see as cost effective, compared with fossil fuel energy.

The idea behind enhanced, or engineered, geothermal systems is to inject water underground to enhance the permeability of rock, allowing for the release and capture of more heat.

Ormat is working on an enhanced geothermal project organized by the U.S. Department of Energy, which says that these advanced techniques can dramatically increase geothermal potential--by 40 times.

Hat tip to VentureBeat.