Google Invests $200M in 161 MW Wind Project in Texas

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Google closed a $200 million investment in the Spinning Spur Wind Project, a 161 megawatt West Texas wind farm that will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes. Each of the farm’s 70 Siemens wind turbines carries a 2.3 megawatt capacity.

The project will bring the bulk of Google’s renewable energy assets to an impressive 2 gigawatts, enough electricity to power 500,000 homes or drive a car around the globe 190,000 times. The new facility will be managed by EDF Renewable Energy, and will sell energy to SPS, a subsidiary of Xcel Technology that serves Texas and New Mexico. The facility is scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year.

EDF purchased the wind farm last January from Austin-based Cielo Wind Power for $322 million in order to begin construction and qualify for several government incentives scheduled to expire by the end of 2012.

Since 2010, Google has made 11 renewable energy investments. Its current renewable energy assets total $1 billion. Other projects in the tech company’s portfolio include the Atlantic Wind Connection, an offshore grid that will connect 7,000 megawatts of off shore wind energy to the coast which the company owns a 37.5 stake, as well as a $280 million fund to assist finance residential solar installations through San Mateo’s SolarCity.

Yet its more than just a green heart that is driving Google’s green energy investments, the company indicated on its blog.

“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: They offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets,” Google said on its blog.