As venture capitalists move away from investment in utility-scale power generation projects, corporate players like Google are moving in to play an increasingly large role in the financing of major projects. A prime example of this is Google’s $200 million equity investment in the Spinning Spur wind farm, a 161-megawatt project in Oldham County, West Texas. The project is estimated to generate enough electricity to power at least 60,000 average homes.
This is Google’s first foray into renewable energy in Texas, but is consistent with the company’s extensive energy investment in other states, especially in wind power generation. The Spinning Spur project will be the eleventh renewable energy investment for Google, with a combined total capacity of around 2 gigawatts of power including solar energy – enough to power well over a million homes.
Kojo Ako-Asare, Senior Manager, Google Corporate Finance, said, “We’re proud to be part of a project that provides the Lone Star State with a new source of low-cost, renewable energy and support the state’s thriving wind industry. This investment reflects Google’s ongoing commitment to clean energy and our belief that corporations can be an important new source of capital for this sector.
The move was applauded by Jeff Clark, Executive Director of the Texas-based Wind Coalition, and is also lauded to help grow renewable energy supply to help residential electricity energy choice.
Google has been a leader in revolutionizing technologies to improve the products and industries that touch people’s lives. The Spinning Spur project is located about 35 miles from Amarillo in Oldham County. The area takes advantage of a wide-open section of the Texas Panhandle with consistently high winds, making it an ideal location for generating wind power. The project was developed by EDF Renewable Energy, a member of The Wind Coalition and a veteran in the energy market. EDF has overseen more than 50 clean energy projects, and is active in all areas of the market, including generation, transmission, energy supply, and energy trading.roving energy efficiencies and harnessing renewable power to meet their energy needs while reducing environmental impact. This investment is a testament to the incredible wind energy resources found in Texas and the visionary state policies that have made Texas the nation’s wind power leader.
The project will use 70 Siemens 2.3 megawatt turbines to generate up to 161 megawatts of electricity. The energy will has been contracted by Southwestern Public Services based in Amarillo, a company that serves energy markets primarily in Texas and New Mexico.
While it might seem strange for a company where 90% of the revenues come from search to be investing in wind energy, Kojo Ako-Asare, Google’s senior manager of corporate finance, explained in a blog post, “we look for projects like Spinning Spur because, in addition to creating more renewable energy and strengthening the local economy, they also make for smart investments,” adding that wind farms offer “attractive returns relative to the risks.”