Google pumps US$200m into Texas wind farm

10 Jan 2013

Google has invested US$200m in a 161 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Texas in the US, with the company now having invested in 11 renewable energy projects since 2010.

Google announced on its blog yesterday that it had invested in the Spinning Spur wind farm in west Texas, which is situated around 56 kilometres (35 miles) from Amarillo.

The wind farm, which is capable of a 161MW electricity output, was built by EDF Renewable Energy. The wind farm began to operate in late December 2012 and is expected to produce enough power for up to 60,000 homes. It comprises 70 wind turbines supplied by Siemens and EDF has agreed to a 15-year power-purchase agreement with Southwestern Public Service Company, a utility that primarily serves Texas and New Mexico.

“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.

He said Google’s renewable energy investments are now capable of generating 2 gigawatts of power.

Last November, Google announced it had made a US$75m investment in a 50MW wind farm in Rippey, Iowa.

Among its other wind-energy investments is the Shepherds Flat wind farm in Arlington, Oregon. Google invested US$100m in the wind farm, which became operational last October. The wind project is capable of producing 845MW of energy, the equivalent of powering 235,000 homes.

In terms of its solar energy interests, Google has invested US$168m in a new solar energy power plant called Ivanpah in the Mojave Desert in California that is being developed by BrightSource Energy. The Ivanpah project is more than 75pc complete.

Google also released an infographic on its blog to showcase how its investments in wind and solar energy can generate up to 2GW of power.

Google clean energy infographic

Wind turbine image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic