A Wind Farm In Oregon Draws $100 Million Investment From Google's Treasury

Google Inc.’s putting another $100 million into large-scale, renewable energy projects. The company’s director of green business operations, Rick Needham, revealed Monday in a post to the corporate blog:

[Google] invested approximately $100 million in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm…currently under construction near windy Arlington, Ore. When completed in 2012 [the plant] will produce 845 MW of energy. This will be the first commercial wind farm in the U.S. to deploy, at scale, turbines that use permanent magnet generators…The electricity produced at Shepherds Flat will be sold under long-term agreements to Southern California Edison.

Prior to financing the Oregon wind farm, Google Inc. invested $168 million in the Mojave-based, Ivanpah solar power tower plant, another renewable energy project that inked a power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison. The Ivanpah solar plant is expected, upon completion in 2013, to generate 392 gross megawatts of energy.

As with their investment in Ivanpah, a Google spokesperson said the company would not be purchasing energy directly from the Shepherds Flat wind farm but would become part owners through its investment. The money for the investment comes from the Google Inc. treasury, or cash holdings.

Besides Google, GE also previously invested in the Shepherds Flat wind farm. GE serves as a supplier of turbines, as well as operations and maintenance services, there. Caithness Energy is the developer of the massive, Oregon renewable energy facility. Co-investors with Google in the wind farm included Sumitomo Corporation of America, and Tyr Energy.