Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Google buys 20 years worth of wind power

Today, TechCrunch reported that Google has purchased 20 years worth of wind power from an Iowa wind farm. They've bought the rights to 114 MW of capacity, either to use themselves to power their 'definitely not evil' enterprises, or sell on the open market.

Google has been playing in the clean energy field for awhile, but this is their most serious financial move to date. The article quotes a Google spokesperson as saying the deal represents 350 - 450 million kWh annually...if google paid $0.05/kWh, the deal is worth $350 million - $450 million. Some serious cash, and it should be viewed as a strategic business move, not as a 'beyond petroleum' greenwashing ploy.

I think these long term wind contracts are a good idea. Google gets power at a reasonable, guaranteed rate for 20 years and is protected against volatile and likely increasing electricity costs. The wind farm gets a guaranteed customer and doesn't have to worry about expiring tax credits, which means it can probably get cheaper financing. Most importantly, it shows other companies that wind isn't just for hippies or politicians, it can make economic sense. Apple, you're next!

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