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October 12, 2010
Google Invests in Ambitious Wind Power Project for the Atlantic Ocean
    by Robert Kropp

Along with Good Energies, a renewable energy investment firm, Google commits to a 37.5% stake in the initial development stage of the 350-mile Atlantic Wind Connection project.


An ambitious proposal to build an offshore wind installation in the Atlantic Ocean that would deliver power to approximately 1.9 million households gained considerable financial support yesterday, when Google and Good Energies, a New York-based investment firm that specializes in renewable energy, each agreed to take a 37.5% stake in the initial development stage of the project.

The 350-mile Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC), which
Trans-Elect Development hopes to start construction on by 2013, would stretch from New Jersey to Virginia and provide an underwater backbone at least 15 miles offshore for multiple wind farms. The first phase of the project, for which the estimated cost of construction is at least $5 billion, could go into service as early as 2016.

Writing on the
Google blog, Rick Needham, the Green Business Operations Director for Google, stated that the project "offers a solid financial return while helping to accelerate offshore wind development—so it's both good business and good for the environment."

The project, Needham continued, "will be able to connect 6,000MW of offshore wind turbines. That's equivalent to 60% of the wind energy that was installed in the entire country last year."

However, as the
New York Times reported, the proposed project still faces numerous hurdles before construction begins. For instance, federal subsidies for the construction of wind power installations are scheduled to expire in 2012, before the US Department of the Interior could issue permits for the project. Also, the project would even out energy costs across the region, which officials in Virginia, where such costs are cheapest, have always opposed, according to the Times.

Yet, as Needham of Google wrote, "The AWC backbone is critical to more rapidly scaling up offshore wind because without it, offshore wind developers would be forced to build individual radial transmission lines from each offshore wind project to the shore, requiring additional time consuming permitting and environmental studies and making balancing the grid more difficult."

Also, "The AWC project relieves grid congestion in one of two National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors which were deemed to have significant network congestion and need speedy creation of transmission capacity," Needham continued.

 

 
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