Google invests $200M in west Texas wind farm

Google announced Wednesday it has made a $200 million equity investment in Spinning Spur, a 161 megawatt wind farm in west Texas. (The photo is Steffi Russell-Egbert and Kojo Ako-Asare from Google’s investments team at Spinning Spur).

With venture capital interest in utility-scale power generation on the wane, corporate players like Google are playing a key role in financing big projects.

Google has invested in 10 other renewable energy projects since 2010, including SolarCity, the Shepherds Flat wind farm in Oregon and BrightSource Energy’s solar thermal Ivanpah project, currently being built in California’s Mojave Desert.

The wind farm was built by EDF Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, who remains an owner and manager in the project.
“We’re proud to be part of a project that provides the Lone Star state with a new source of low- cost, renewable energy and supports the state’s thriving wind industry,” said Kojo Ako-Asare, Senior Manager, Google Corporate Finance, in a statement.  “This investment reflects Google’s ongoing commitment to clean energy and our belief that corporations can be an important new source of capital for this sector.”

Spinning Spur, which consists of 70 2.3 MW turbines made by Siemens, came online in late December. Google and EDF say the facility has the capacity to generate enough electricity for roughly 60,000 homes. The electricity is contracted to Amarillo-based Southwestern Public Service, which serves customers in Texas and  New Mexico.



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