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Ten Questions for Google on Its Wind Projects

A $38.8 million direct investment in North Dakota wind farms is a financial play that will boost Google's energy know-how, says Rick Needham

Google on Monday said it has invested $38.8 million into 169.5 megawatts worth of wind farms developed by NextEra Energy Resources in North Dakota. This constitutes the search engine giant's first direct investment in a wind power project. The cash came from Google itself, in contrast to previous investments made via its philanthropy arm, We asked Rick Needham, manager of Google's green business operations, about the company's plans for the wind power project. Earth2Tech: Why did Google make its first direct utility-scale clean power investment into these particular projects? Needham: We're aiming to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in a way that makes good business sense. These particular projects were attractive because they offered good returns for our capital, based on the risks of the projects, and allowed us to partner with experienced developers and investors. They also use turbines that take advantage of the excellent wind resources in the area and are able to use existing transmission capacity, resulting in low-cost clean energy. Why make this investment now, two and a half years after you first launched your renewable energy effort? Our RE

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