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Google pours millions into wind power

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Why stop at global digital domination when you can add natural power resources to back up your electric empire? Fanning its green credentials, Google will invest US$100 million in a wind farm situated in the US’s Shepards Flat in eastern Oregon.

The $2 billion project has also attracted investment from turbine manufacturer General Electric, ITOCHU Corporation subsidiary Tyr Energy and Sumitomo Corporation subsidiary Sumitomo Corporation of America.

The US Department of Energy awarded the project a $1.3 billion loan guarantee in December, and the 845-megawatt wind-generation facility is anticipated to be America’s largest wind farm.

"This project is exciting to us not only because of its size and scale, but also because it uses advanced technology," Google director of green business operations Rick Needham said in a blog post.

"This will be the first commercial wind farm in the U.S. to deploy, at scale, turbines that use permanent magnet generators—tech-speak for evolutionary turbine technology that will improve efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities," he added.

Google's total investment in clean energy to date is around $350 million. The tech giant recently invested $168 million solar project in the Mojave Desert backed by BrightSource Energy.

The Shepards Flat project will create 400 jobs and once completed next year, will generate enough energy to supply more than 235,000 average US homes, and will avoid about 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide from approximately 260,000 passenger vehicles.

The power generated by the farm will be sold directly to power company Southern California Edison through 20-year fixed price power purchase agreements.®

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