Google Invests $200 Million in Texas Wind Farm, Awards Grant to Energy Foundation

Google has announced a $200 million equity investment in a Texas wind farm that will generate enough energy to power more than sixty thousand homes in Texas and New Mexico.

Located in Oldham County, about thirty-five miles west of Amarillo, the Spinning Spur Wind Project encompasses seventy Siemens wind turbines, which together are capable of producing 161 megawatts of electricity. The energy produced by the project — one of ten renewable energy investments Google has made since 2010 &38212; is contracted to a utility company serving portions of Texas and New Mexico.

In addition, the search giant announced a $2.65 million grant to the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation through its arm in support of policy reforms designed to encourage smarter energy use. Specifically, the grant will support policies aimed at creating "smarter" electricity rates that encourage consumers to be more efficient in their use of energy and produce their own on-site energy; compensating consumers and businesses for reducing their energy use during peak usage times; and encouraging open data policies that give customers access to their own energy data to promote better energy management tools and services.

"These policy reforms, coupled with the new technologies now being deployed on a large scale, can empower consumers to make smarter energy choices, improve real-time management of the electricity grid, and help facilitate more renewable energy all while lowering overall costs," the company said in a statement on its Google Green Blog. "We hope this grant will help catalyze change and look forward to seeing progress in the years to come."

Zain Shauk. "Google Puts $200 Million in Texas Wind Farm." San Francisco Chronicle 01/09/2013. "A Wind Investment Deep in the Heart of Texas." Google Green Blog 01/09/2013. "Paving a Path to Intelligent Energy Use." Google Green Blog 01/14/2013.