Google invests $US200 million in Texas wind turbine project

The investment is part of a continuing interest by the Internet giant in renewable energy

Google will invest US$200 million in a wind farm project in west Texas, part of the Internet giant's continuing interest in funding renewable energy projects, the company said Wednesday.

The equity investment is in the Spinning Spur Wind Project, located about 35 miles from Amarillo on the state's panhandle, a 161-megawatt facility that started producing energy last month, according to a news release.

"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," wrote Kojo Ako-Asare, senior manager in Google's corporate finance division, on a company blog.

Google has invested in 10 other renewable energy projects since 2010, which can collectively generate 2 gigawatts of power, Ako-Asare wrote. The energy can power 500,000 U.S. homes for a year, Google said.

The Spinning Spur Wind Project was constructed by EDF Renewable Energy, which specializes in wind and solar photovoltaic renewable energy. It has 70 2.3-megawatt Siemens turbines, which can generate enough power to supply 60,000 average U.S. homes. The project's energy output goes to SPS, which is a utility serving primarily Texas and New Mexico.

Google had sought to site its data centers near renewable energy sources and already purchases power generated from wind turbines. It has two 20-year-long Power Purchase Agreements with the company NextEra for its facilities in Iowa and Oklahoma, which Google uses to power two data centers in the states.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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