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Google Makes Significant Green Investments
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December 21, 2010

Google Makes Significant Green Investments

By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

How important is it to go green? Google finds that this is an important direction and has announced a number of key initiatives in its recent blog post.

The company stated that it is fully committed to a future that includes clean energy. Google (News - Alert) has had a busy year with its clean energy initiatives and has also redesigned its green website. The blog post included a look back at 2010 and the green accomplishments the company has made.

Google positions its data centers as the most energy efficient in the world as they rely on renewable energy whenever possible. In 2010, Google created a subsidiary, Google Energy LLC, to enable the company to purchase renewable energy on the wholesale power markets and help to spur development in that sector.

Google Energy LLC was granted the authority to buy and sell energy on the wholesale market by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which provides the company with the flexibility to procure renewable energy at competitive prices.

The FERC also allowed Google Energy LLC to enter into a 20-year green Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to buy clean energy from 114 megawatts of wind generation at NextEra’s Story County II facility in Iowa. This provides the developer with the financial certainty to build additional clean energy projects.

The Google Earth Engine, a new Google Labs product, has also been launched. This technology platform makes a catalog of imagery and data available on line in one place for the first time. The purpose is to enable global-scale monitoring and measurement of changes in the Earth’s environment. Initial efforts focus on stopping global deforestation.

Google has also invested more than $100 million in clean energy. The company continues its internal R&D on renewable energy technology and is substantially growing its engineering team. This year, Google began making project investments that offer a solid financial return and have the potential to have a transformational impact on the renewable energy sector.

In May, Google invested $38.8 million in two North Dakota wind farms that generate 169.5MW, which is enough power to run 55,000 homes. This project uses some of the latest wind turbine technology and control systems to provide one of the lowest-cost sources of renewable energy to the local grid.

In October, the company made a development stage investment in a project to build a backbone transmission line off the Mid-Atlantic cost. The project is expected to put in place strong, secure transmission and remove major barriers to scaling up offshore wind.

Google has definitely been busy this year and expects to see much more in 2011.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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