Google plows $75M into another clean energy project

Google's latest clean energy investment pushes its project capacity total to more than 2 gigawatts, or enough electricity to power 500,000 U.S. homes for one year.

Google announced Tuesday another investment in a clean energy project. This time, and similar to other recent deals, the Internet search engine giant is investing in a Texas wind farm. 

The company says it has committed to invest $75 million in the Panhandle 2 wind farm in Carson County, outside of Amarillo, Texas. The 182 megawatt facility, developed by Pattern Energy Group, has the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 56,000 U.S. homes. The wind farm is expected to be operational by the end of the year, Google's renewable energy investment principle Nick Coons wrote on the company's blog. 

Coons says the Pandhandle 2 project is Google's 15th renewable investment overall and its second in Texas. Last year, the company announced plans to invest $200 million in the Spinning Spur wind farm . In addition to the two wind farm investments, Google announced in September 2013 it was buying the entire output of the  240-megawatt Happy Hereford wind farm  outside of Amarillo, Texas as part of its goal to operate on 100 percent renewable energy.

Google has invested more than $1.3 billion to wind and solar projects. In total, its clean energy projects have more than 2 gigawatts of capacity. Together the projects are expected to generate more than 5 billion kilowatt hours annually, or enough to power about 500,000 U.S. homes for one year, according to EPA's GPE calculator.

Coons didn't provide details about what will happen once the wind farm is operational. Google could enter into a power purchase agreement, something it's done in the past. If it does enter into an PPA, Google likely won't consume the clean energy produced by the wind farm directly. Instead, after Google buys the clean energy, it will retire the renewable energy credits (RECs) and sell the energy itself to the wholesale market. The company will then apply any additional RECs produced under the agreement to reduce its carbon footprint elsewhere. 


Thumbnail photo: Flickr user Kool Cats Photography

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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