Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Google to invest in $5 billion wind-power project for Mid-Atlantic

Google to invest in $5 billion wind-power project for Mid-Atlantic

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By Young-Sam Cho
(c) 2010 Bloomberg News
Tuesday, October 12, 2010; 7:44 AM
Google Inc. agreed to invest in a transmission network project that will be able to harvest electricity from wind farms off the Mid-Atlantic coast and power 1.9 million homes across Virginia, New York and New Jersey.
This Story
Google will buy a 37.5 percent stake in the development stage of the Atlantic Wind Connection project, Rick Needham, director of green business operations at the Mountain View, California-based Internet company, said on Google's blog. The project will cost about $5 billion and Google's initial investment will likely be about $200 million, the New York Times reported, citing project leader Trans-Elect Development Co.
The network and Google's involvement will help spur the wind energy industry in the U.S., which has lagged behind China in installing turbines, said Charlie Hodges, a wind industry analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. Wind-power investment may reach $202 billion within two decades, according to estimates at industry group Global Wind Energy Council.
"The North American wind industry hasn't had any players involved with the motivation and financial heft to really move this market forward," Hodges said. "Google could play that role."
Google and Good Energies, an investor in renewable-energy projects, agreed to each buy 37.5 percent of the equity portion of the project, with their stakes likely to fall after they bring in more investors, according to the New York Times. Japan's Marubeni Corp. will own a 10 percent stake, according to the report.
The transmission network will span 350 miles and will be able to connect to 6,000 megawatts of power from wind turbines, according to the statement.
The group will set up a company to conduct a feasibility study by 2013 and plans to start the first phase in 2016, Marubeni spokesman Yo Nomura said, declining to comment on the cost of the project.

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