Google Makes First Direct Investment in Renewable Energy

Internet company Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) made its first direct investment in utility-scale renewable power on Friday, investing a combined $38.8 million in two North Dakota wind farms.

The wind farms, with a combined capacity of 169.5 megawatts (MW) are being developed by NextEra Energy Resources. Next Era is a division of the FPL Group (NYSE: FPL) and the largest wind power operator in the US. 

The wind farms will make use of existing transmission capacity, and will generate enough power for 55,000 homes. In a blog post, Google’s green business operations manager, Rick Needham, said the wind farms will employ the latest wind turbine technology, allowing for continual adjustment of individual blade-pitch angles,  large blades, and remote monitoring. 

He did not say what company will supply the wind turbines.

Google has made a public commitment to fund research to produce renewable energy at a cost that is cheaper than coal. Through it’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, the company is backing early-stage solar and geothermal companies–eSolar and Altarock respectively. 

The company also recently said it is working to develop better and cheaper reflective materials for use in solar thermal power plants.

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