Google and Citibank are each contributing no less than $102 million to Terra-Gen Power's Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC), according to the Google Green Blog. Both investors' money will go towards financing the 168 megawatt (MW) Alta V Project, after Google spent $55 million last month to finance the 102 MW Alta IV initiative at AWEC.
By the end of the year, Google is anticipating that the Tehachapi, California-based AWEC will hit one gigawatt of production on line by the end of the year, and 1,550 MW when the facility is all completed. All energy produced at AWEC will be sold to Southern California Edison under a power purchase agreement with Terra-Gen, the facility's developer.
What that means for Google at large is that they won't be directly tapping into the wind energy generated by AWEC. Rather, as investors, Google and Citibank will own the facility and lease it back to Terra-Gen Power, who handle management and operations as per a long-term contract. It's a model that Google says that it hopes catches on in the world of wind energy investment.
This investment means that Google has invested $780 million into wind power - $700 million of which was spent in 2011 alone- and the search giant says that they're hoping to turn a profit even as they do their part to promote clean, renewable energy. Putting aside the financial incentives, Google-backed wind power plants have deployed 1.7 gigawatts of power.