Wind Farms Getting Boost from Google

John Davis

Google is getting into the wind energy business.

North American Windpower says the Internet giant is putting more than $38 million into two North Dakota NextEra Energy Resources wind farms that generate about 169 megawatts of energy … Google’s first direct investment in a utility-scale renewable energy project:

“Smart capital includes not only these early-stage company investments, but also dedicated funding for utility-scale projects,” says Rick Needham, Google’s green business operations manager. “To tackle this need, 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.”

The project uses the latest wind turbine technology and control systems, according to Google. The turbines can continuously adjust the individual blade pitch angles to achieve optimal efficiency and use larger blades with 15% more swept area than earlier generations, allowing capture of even more wind energy for each turbine.

Even the control systems are remotely controlled, allowing the turbines to be monitored 24 hours a day for optimized production.