Google to invest in grid for U.S. offshore wind

Mountain View, Calif., October 12, 2010 — Internet search giant Google has put its support behind a proposed 350-mile underwater electric cable off the U.S. East Coast that could form the transmission backbone of a grid carrying power from future offshore wind turbines.

The cable would be able to transmit about 6 GW of electricity.

When built, the Atlantic Wind Connection will stretch 350 miles off the coast from New Jersey to Virginia.

The AWC backbone will be built around offshore power hubs that will collect the power from multiple offshore wind farms and deliver it via undersea cables to the highest-capacity segments of the land-based transmission system.

By putting the transmission in place, the project removes a major barrier to scaling up offshore wind, an industry that despite its potential, only had its federal lease signed recently and still has no operating projects in the U.S.

Japan’s Marubeni and New York investment firm Good Energies are joining in financing the project, which will be led by transmission-line developer Trans-Elect.

Current U.S. wind farms are capable of generating 35.6 GW of electricity, enough to meet the needs of about 9.7 million homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Google said in late 2007 that it would begin to invest in companies and fund research into producing affordable renewable energy. It has also invested in onshore wind and solar energy.

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