Forbes: Google Makes Two More Solar, Wind Investments

We’re barely three weeks into 2015, and Google has already disclosed two substantial investments in renewable energy projects.

The total so far: more than $1.5 billion.

The most recent transaction (its 19th so far) will see the internet giant put $76 million into the Balko Wind project in Oklahoma, according to a Google spokesperson. Google is part of several companies putting tax equity financing into the 300-megawatt wind farm. (The others include General Electric Capital, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Citi.)

New York Times: On to Plan B as Oil Work Stalls in Texas

With oil prices plummeting by more than 50 percent since June, the gleeful mood of recent years has turned glum here in West Texas as the frenzy of shale oil drilling has come to a screeching halt.

Every day, oil companies are decommissioning rigs and announcing layoffs. Small companies that lease equipment have fallen behind in their payments.

In response, businesses and workers are bracing for the worst.

TechCrunch: PureLiFi Raises £1.5M for Tech That Uses Pulsating LED Light to Create Wi-Fi Alternative

PureLiFi, a spinout of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, is developing what it calls "LiFi" technology, an alternative to wireless networking, such as Wi-Fi or 5G, based on visible light communication (VLC). Specifically, the tech uses pulsating LED light, imperceptible to the human eye, as a way of sending data from one LiFi-equipped device to another.

Today the startup is disclosing that it’s raised £1.5 million in a new round of funding round led by Scottish-based angel group London & Scottish Investment Partners (LSIP), with additional funding from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) and Old College Capital, the venture investment arm of the University of Edinburgh.

Reuters: Global Nuclear Decommissioning Costs Underestimated

German utility E.ON's breakup has led to worries that funds set aside for decommissioning reactors will not suffice, but globally the cost of unwinding nuclear is uncertain, as estimates range widely.

As aging first-generation reactors close, the true cost of decommissioning will be crucial for the future of the nuclear industry, already ailing following the 2011 Fukushima disaster and competition from cheap shale gas, falling oil prices and a flood of renewable energy from wind and solar.

The International Energy Agency said late last year that almost 200 of the 434 reactors in operation around the globe would be retired by 2040, and estimated the cost of decommissioning them at more than $100 billion.

Valley News: Google Driverless Cars Could Be Here in 5 Years

Google is engineering and building driverless cars in partnership with metro Detroit suppliers in a marriage of California tech and Motown know-how.

Pod-like prototypes for testing are being developed and assembled, and will undergo testing at Google facilities in California in the spring -- Google does not want to do testing in the snow.

The goal is to have driverless cars available on the market within five years, said Chris Urmson, director of self-driving cars for Google.