Google Investing in Renewable Energy

Google's Mountain View Campus: Powered by Solar Array

The mega successful search engine developer Google has been busy developing projects in the renewable energy sector.

Wind Farm in California

Google has already invested $400 million in a variety of clean-energy projects, with $55 million dedicated to the support of a wind farm in California. And more is coming to the rest of the country and world.

The $55 million is to help finance the Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) which is being developed by Terra-Gen Power. Citigroup Inc. is also in on the deal, which will create a wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains in the northeastern part of Los Angeles County.

Google is also based in California, in Mountain View to be precise, which is close enough to the Tehachapi’s for the project to benefit Google directly. Google’s servers use enormous amounts of energy, and if Google was able to get a significant portion of that energy from a renewable source, the environment (and Google’s bottom line) could potentially derive great benefit from AWEC.

More Projects World Wide

But this project is only the beginning. Google has been pouring money into projects around the US and around the planet. The projects are ambitious, big and bold, with serious investments at stake but all with the potential to produce enormous amounts of energy. Here are just a few:

• Google has invested in the Atlantic Wind Power Consortium. This group is right now in the process of securing approvals to build a line of transmission which will carry electricity from wind farms located offshore (which have yet to be built) to the mid-Atlantic coastal region from New Jersey south to Virginia. The total cost of this huge project is expected to be about $5 billion, of which Google is staking about 42%.

• In eastern Oregon Google is betting $100 million that the Shepherd’s Flat Wind Farm will succeed. The farm is under development by Caithness Energy. They are receiving $1.2 billion in subsidies from federal, state and local governments. The total cost is expected to be about $2 billion all together.

• In Germany Google is investing $5 million in a farm to produce solar energy which will supply the power for a data center there.

Large Solar Source of Power in Bay Area

Besides these and other investments, Google has one of the largest solar arrays in existence. Their San Francisco Bay area headquarters is receiving a portion of its power from this array, and Google continues to experiment with it to see just how efficient they can make their own data center.

“With this [Terra-Gen Power] deal, we’ve now invested more than $400 million in the clean-energy sector. We hope AWEC’s success, with its unique deal structure and renewable-energy transmission, encourages more financing and development of renewables that will usher in a new energy future,” wrote Rick Needham, Google’s Green Business Operations Manager.