Google Invests for the Greater Good

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Google is investing in a wind-energy project that will create thousands of jobs as well as thousands of megawatts of electricity.  Spanning the offshore region from New Jersey to Virginia, the project will be able to serve approximately 1.9 million households, relieving congestion in an area in great need of higher transmission capacity.

The Atlantic Wind Connection, as it’s called, will be a transmission backbone along the mid-Atlantic continental shelf.  Google is willing to finance this renewable energy project based on good business sense as well as the good feeling of doing the right thing. Green business operations director Rick Needham even announced the agreement via The Official Google Blog.

The project will allow these lucky coastal states to take advantage of their location.  Relatively shallow waters that extend miles out to sea mean wind turbines can be more easily installed 10-15 miles offshore.  This also means they’ll be almost out of sight from the coast.  The stronger and steadier winds way out there will allow the use of larger wind turbines to capture 60,000 megawatts of energy to help these states meet their renewable energy goals.

The scale of this project prevents individual wind farms from having to run their own transmission lines back to land, which makes balancing the grid easier.  Offshore power hubs will collect power from multiple wind farms and transfer it to transmission nodes on land via efficient sub-sea cables.  It will also increase the reliability of the grid along the Mid-Atlantic coast.

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I think the only way to avoid climate pollution is to provide a stimulate climate for community driven investment in wind and solar projects (i. e. through limited partnerships). However, the federal governemnt should also introduce a clear feed in tariff for renewable energies.

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