Google blows into Texas wind farm

Jan. 9, 2013
Google puts some of its cash into a big Texas wind farm.

Google says it just finished putting about a $200 million equity investment into a west Texas wind farm that Google says generates enough energy to power more than 60,000 average U.S. homes.

Left unsaid in the announcement is how many of its server farms could run from the wind facility. Google doesn’t release data on the amount of electricity it uses. Some reports have suggested that Google arranges power capacity of 50 MW and beyond for some of its largest data centers and that it probably uses about 900,000 servers or so.

The Spinning Spur Wind Project sits in Oldham County in the Texas Panhandle about 35 miles from Amarillo. The 161 MW facility was built by renewable energy developer EDF Renewable Energy. Google says Spinning Spur’s 70 2.3 MW Siemens turbines started spinning full time just before the end of the year, and the energy they create has been contracted to SPS, a utility that primarily serves Texas and New Mexico.

Google says the wind farm offers attractive returns relative to the risks. "We’re also proud to be the first investor in an EDF Renewable Energy project that is not a financial institution, as we believe that corporations can be an important new source of capital for the renewable energy sector," the company says.

Google says it has invested in 10 other renewable energy investments since 2010, ranging from solar installations to thermal solar mirror arrays to other wind farms. Altogether, Google's renewable energy projects are capable of generating 2 GW.

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