Google invests $200m in Texas wind farm, ends 2012 with over $1 billion in renewable energy

Google invests $200m in Texas wind farm, ends 2012 with over $1 billion in renewable energy

Google on Wednesday announced an approximately $200 million equity investment in a west Texas wind farm that generates enough energy to power more than 60,000 average US homes. The company’s Treasury team actually struck the deal in late December, but because of the holiday season it delayed the details till now.

The month prior to this investment, Google put $75 million into a 50MW wind farm. At the time, the company revealed it had contributed almost $1 billion to the renewable energy sector.

The news today means the company easily ended 2012 with over 10 figures invested in renewable energy. Furthermore, all of Google’s renewable energy projects together are capable of generating an estimated 2 gigawatts of power.

This latest investment is for Spinning Spur Wind Project, located in Oldham County, about 35 miles from Amarillo. The 161 megawatt facility was built by EDF Renewable Energy, a company that has overseen more than 50 other clean energy projects, according to Google.

A bigger wind farm naturally means a bigger investment. While the December investment was bigger than the November one, it cost Google was less per megawatt. Still, the company put in over $1 million per megawatt for both.

Google also took the opportunity today to share related news regarding its renewable energy investments:

  • The Atlantic Wind Connection received permission to begin permitting, an important step in advancing the construction of the United States’ first offshore backbone electric transmission system.
  • Shepherds Flat, one of the world’s largest wind farms with a capacity of 845 MW, became fully operational in October.
  • The Ivanpah project, which is more than 75 percent complete and employs 2,000+ people, recently installed its 100,000th heliostat, a kind of mirror.
  • Just yesterday, the fourth and final phase of Recurrent Energy’s 88MW solar installation in Sacramento County, Calif., reached commercial operation.

As for the 2 gigawatt number, Google has put together an infographic to help put things into perspective for you:


Image credit: Petr Kovar

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