Google Inc has invested $38.8 million into two wind farms in North Dakota, USA. This is the Internet giant’s first direct investment in utility-scale renewable energy generation.
The Mountain View company from California said that it invested in wind farms built by NextEra Energy Resources, a unit of FPL Group. The wind turbines, made by GE, generate 169.5MW.
The investment marks a departure from Google’s initial approach to renewable energy, which focused on investing in early-stage renewable energy companies such as BrightSource Energy, eSolar, and AltaRock, which are developing new solar, wind and geothermal power technologies. Google said that it is investing directly into energy projects 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. Google’s stakes in the wind farm are in the form of “tax equity” investments, in which investors take over a project and use federal tax credits granted to the project to offset their own taxes as a return.
The projects include Ashtabula 2, a 120MW wind farm in Barnes County, ND, and Wilton Wind 2, a 49.5MW wind facility in Burleigh County, ND.