Google Invests $38 Million in North Dakota Wind Farms
Google has always been out there as a major proponent of sustainable energy. In 2008, Google unveiled its $4.4 trillion “Clean Energy 2030″ plan to help the U.S. lessen its dependence on fossil fuels. Just a few months ago we reported that they were invovled in a “secret” test of the Bloom Box (February 21, 2010) Fuel cell. Other renewable energy investments include utility-scale solar power company eSolar and geo-thermal company AltaRock and have included large solar power installations on its campus, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle program .Now they are extending their commitment to clean energy by making a more than substantial, $38 million investment in two wind farms in North Dakota. Acoording to the New York Times and reported by the FPL Group, It represents a minority interest in a recent $190 million round of financing for the projects.
According to Google on their blog, the two NextEra Energy Resources wind farms now produce 169.5 Megawatts of power which is enough to generate power for over 55,00 homes. Google’s Green Business Operations Manager Rick Needham says that Google decided to go with this company because it
…uses some of the latest wind turbine technology and control systems to provide one of the lowest-cost sources of renewable energy to the local grid. The turbines can continuously adjust the individual blade pitch angles to achieve optimal efficiency and use larger blades with 15 percent more swept area than earlier generations, allowing capture of even more wind energy for each turbine. The control systems for these wind farms are also advanced and dynamic, allowing for remote 24/7 monitoring and operation to ensure maximum turbine up-time and power production.
Paving the way for this, In February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Google’s move into the energy market, enabling the company to sell energy, capacity and ancillary services. Google Energy intends to act as a power marketer by purchasing electricity and reselling it to wholesale customers.
Google also recently released its new PowerMeter API, aimed at manufacturers of electrical devices, from refrigerators and washing machines to other appliances that have built-in energy monitoring technology. It is adding more appliances and devices on a seemingly regular basis.
Jamie Yood, a Google spokesman, told the New York Times that the investment is a “tax equity investment,” allowing the company to earn a return based on the tax credits awarded by the government for renewable energy projects. He also said the energy from the wind farms will not be used to power Google’s data centers.