Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Google makes move into renewables field

June 2010

The internet search giant Google has invested £38.8million (£26.7m, €31.3m) directly into two US wind farms.

In its first large-scale renewable energy investment, Google is backing the North Dakota projects of NextEra Energy Resources, which together will provide wind energy capacity to power 55,000 homes.

For years the company has said it would like a commercial interest in renewable energy, and claims its latest action makes ‘good business sense’.
Google’s data centres, which provide the information used in web search results, make the company one of the world’s largest corporate electricity consumers. It has previously funded smaller-scale green energy start-ups, but nothing on this scale.

The wind farms will use new turbine technology, including bigger, adjustable blades and a remote monitoring and control system.

Rick Needham, Google’s green business operations manager, said: ‘We’ve been pushing for energy policies that strengthen the innovation pipeline, and we’ve been dedicating resources to developing new technologies … we’ve been looking at investments in renewable energy projects, like the one we just signed, that can accelerate the deployment of the latest clean energy technology while providing attractive returns to Google and more capital for developers to build additional projects.’

Google has recently requested the US government’s permission to buy and sell electricity on the wholesale market, suggesting that it may eventually become a major renewable energy supplier in the future.

Google | North America | Environment


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