Google may not seem like an energy company, but it sure is acting like one.
Through more than $1 billion in investments and through large contracts for renewable power, Google has become the most significant player in the energy business outside of actual energy companies and financial institutions.
The Internet search giant’s efforts to transform the world’s use of power and fossil fuels have included a $200 million investment in a Texas wind farm and the purchase of a company that makes innovative flying wind turbines. It has invested $168 million in a solar project in California and is funding the development of an offshore grid to support wind turbines off the Atlantic coast.
In total, it has an ownership stake in more than 2 gigawatts of power generation capacity, the equivalent of Hoover Dam, said Rick Needham, Google’s director of energy and sustainability.
Google even has a subsidiary, Google Energy, that’s authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to sell wholesale electricity that it generates from its power assets.
Analysts say it is the only company other than energy businesses and financial institutions that has taken large ownership stakes in major stand-alone power projects.
Read the whole thing – try this FuelFix link if the houstonchronicle.com one is not available to you – it’s quite a story. It’s great to see an innovator and big investor like Google pushing renewable energy for business reasons as well as altruistic ones. I hope a lot of other companies follow their lead.