Google continues to make significant investment in renewable energy sector with a recent investment of about $200 million in a wind farm in western Texas near Amarillo.
The Spinning Spur Wind project is located in the Oldham County about 35 miles from Amarillo in a windy area of Texas. The project has an installed capacity of 161 MW and was built by EDF Renewable Energy. The wind farm is expected to provide enough power for up to 60,000 average US homes.
The wind farm is comprised of 70 Siemens wind turbines with 2.3 MW of capacity each. The plant started operations in the end of December 2012, and the generated energy is being sold to Southwestern Public Service Company (a utility that serves Texas and New Mexico) through a 15-year power purchase agreement.
“We look for projects like Spinning Spur because, in addition to creating more renewable energy and strengthening the local economy, they also make for smart investments: they offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets,” announced Kojo Ako-Asare, Google’s senior manager for corporate finance, on the company’s blog.
Google has claimed that its renewable energy investments are now capable of generating 2 gigawatts (GW) of power, or 2,000 MW.
Google’s Renewable Energy Investments
This is not the first time Google has invested in renewable energy projects. Through the years, Google has been investing heavily in renewable energy technology, with a strong focus on supporting clean energy. Since 2010, it has invested in 10 renewable energy projects, including some of the biggest renewable energy projects in US.
The company has also invested $100 million in the Shepherds Flat wind farm in Oregon, known to be one of the world’s largest wind farms, with an installed capacity of 845 MW capable of powering 235,000 homes. Another wind energy investment includes the Atlantic Wind Connection Project, which will span 350 miles of the coast from New Jersey to Virginia to connect 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines.
Google’s investment in solar energy projects also cannot be ignored. It has invested $168 million in the Ivanpah solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert in California being developed by BrightSource Energy. The project is 75% complete and expected to start commercial operation this year.
Though Google may not be directly involved, it has long promoted renewable energy through investments. Last year, Google signed two power purchase agreements to buy renewable energy from specific facilities. The first is with a 114MW wind project at NextEra’s Story County II facility in Iowa, and the second is with a 100.8MW wind project at Minco II facility in Oklahoma. The power generated from these wind farms is being used to power the company’s data centers.
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views only
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.