Google heads search for offbeat tech investments

Google said it will make a large-scale investment to harness offshore wind power in a move that shows the search giant continues to diverge from its core business.

The company said that it would join forces with Good Energies and Japan’s Marubeni Corporation to finance the project that will create miles of underwater cables to transport energy from wind farms to US cities. Trans-Elect, an independent transmission company, will lead the project and Google is investing in 37.5 per cent of the equity for the initial development of the project.

“The new project can enable the creation of thousands of jobs, improve consumer access to clean energy sources and increase the reliability of the Mid-Atlantic region’s existing power grid,” Rick Needham, Green Business Operations Director, said.

Google did not disclose the amount of its investment. The agreement was first reported by The New York Times, which said the project would cost $5bn.

The project will be called the Atlantic Wind Connection and will comprise a 350 mile stretch of underwater cable off the east coast, from Virginia to New Jersey. It will connect 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines and provide power to 1.9m homes, Google said.

The company’s foray into alternative energy comes as it recently revealed that it was testing cars that can drive themselves without human intervention across thousands of miles of public roads. On Monday the company unveiled an inflation index called the “Google Price Index”, which uses its collection of shopping data to measure price fluctuations.

“We believe in investing in projects that make good business sense and further the development of renewable energy,” Mr Needham said of the wind programme. “We’re willing to take calculated risks on early stage ideas and projects that can have dramatic impacts while offering attractive returns.”

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