Google is no stranger to renewable energy. The search giant has previously invested in enhanced geothermal technology, smart grid ventures, electric cars, and wind power startups. But those investments all came from Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the company. Now, for the first time, Google Inc. has invested in renewable power as a way to "accelerate the deployment of the latest clean energy technology while providing attractive returns to Google and more capital for developers to build additional projects," according to the Official Google Blog.
The lucky recipient of Google's $38.8 million investment is NextEra Energy Resources' wind energy project in the North Dakota plains--two wind farms that generate 169.5 megawatts of energy, or enough to power more than 55,000 homes. So why this project over all the other renewable energy projects out there? Google reasons that the project uses the latest wind turbine technology to provide ultra-low cost energy to the grid.
No word on what other utility-scale projects Google is considering, but Rick Needham, Google's Green Business Operations Manager, writes that "We look forward to finding more opportunities to invest in renewable energy projects that use the latest technologies to push the envelope for delivering low cost clean energy. We’ll let you know what we find." We're guessing that NextEra Energy Resources won't be the last renewable energy investment for Google Inc. by a long shot.