According to an official company blog post today, Google is increasing its investment into California’s Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) by $102 million, bringing its total investment in the renewable energy facility to $157 million.
The AWEC is being developed by Terra-Gen Power, primarily. The first development within the massive facility is the Alta-Oak Creek Mojave Project. Google’s latest funding commitment would go to build an extension at the facility. The AWEC has a transmission line, the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, dedicated to it which makes it distinct from many, large-scale renewable energy projects that have been proposed in the U.S.
Over the years, Cape Wind faced challenges winning public opinion and regulatory approvals due to a lack of a transmission line that can send power generated offshore back to Nantucket or Boston, two large markets nearby. In 2010, as reported by Reuters then, Google, along with cleantech investment firm Good Energies and Japans’ Marubeni Corp., agreed to take an equity position in Cape Wind’s transmission line.
This year, Google has invested about $700 million into renewable energy projects, according to press statements by Rick Needham, the company’s director of green business operations.
Google also recently dedicated funds to financing SolarCity residential solar development, and to other large-scale solar and wind projects including at Ivanpah a solar power tower project in Nevada, and Shepherd’s Flat, the wind farm in Oregon.
A hearty tax appetite is partly responsible for Google’s move to become a clean energy financier of this magnitude. Google will reap the benefits of many tax credits currently available to investors in clean energy in the U.S.
Supporting clean energy and new additions to the grid could also help Google maintain a stronghold in search and big data; users will inevitably search for and process bulk amounts of information about energy production and use via Google, its APIs and apps as new sources of energy get plugged into the grid, and as utilities are forced by regulators to report more carefully on their environmental impact.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...
Good Energies is a global investor in renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. The firm invests in solar, turbine-based renewables, green structure technologies, and other emerging areas within the realm of clean energy. Founded in 2001, Good Energies manages the renewable energy portfolio of COFRA, a family owned and managed group of companies.
Terra-Gen Power is a renewable energy company focused on geothermal, wind and solar generation. Terra-Gen Power owns 831 MW (net equity) in twenty-one operating renewable energy projects across the Western United States. Wholly owned subsidiaries, Terra-Gen Operating Company and Coso Operating Company, operate and manage most of the projects. The company primarily sells the output of the renewable energy projects to load serving entities under long-term power purchase agreements. Terra-Gen Power plans to expand operations in renewable generation through...