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Google's search for power could be boon for offshore wind farms

Google’s latest investment has nothing to do with the Internet.

The search-engine has agreed to invest heavily in a proposed $5 billion transmission backbone for future offshore wind farms along the Atlantic seaboard, according to the New York Times.

The proposed project is a 350 mile underwater spine that has a capacity of 6,000 megawatts which is equal to the output of five large nuclear reactors. The backbone cable would run through trenches in federal waters 15- 20 miles off -shore, allowing energy to be harvested from turbines in an area where wind is strong and towers aren’t as visible.

Google’s investment in the project is a major commitment to renewable energy. It also seems reasonable that other companies take its lead — that good business decisions can also be good for consumers and the environment.

According to Cecilia Kang’s Post Tech column in the Washington Post, “Google has been exploring alternative energy projects that it believes will be a good investment but can also help supply the increasing energy demands of companies like itself.”

Whether or not this is Google’s main motivation to invest in the project, the idea of corporations holding themselves accountable for their energy demands shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose agency would have to approve the project has been supportive.

“By identifying high-priority areas offshore for potential wind projects, we can explore the development of a transmission backbone in the Atlantic Ocean to serve those areas,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in speech last month.

The project appears to be a breakthrough in wind energy and if approved could revolutionize off-shore wind farms in the United States.  Though somewhat surprising, Google’s interest in alternative energy could serve as an example for other corporations and businesses  to invest in similar projects.