Google has its fingers in a whole lot of pots. Beyond its own services – which spread into not only search but local, social, operating systems, mobile, and more – Google also invests heavily in other companies. However, the company’s investments are done with care, ensuring that the brand reputation remains as polished as possible. Their most recent investment illustrates this appropriately: Google invested $100 million (U.S.) dollars in a wind farm in Shepherds Flat, Oregon.
The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is a project of immense scope. It began construction in 2009 and is slated for completion in 2012. Thanks to a combination of its sheer size (approximately thirty square miles) and its innovative technology (known as “permanent magnet generators”), the Oregon farm will be able to generate 845 MW of energy. That’s enough, according to Google, to power 235,000 homes. Further, the permanent magnet generator technology itself is new to the U.S., and its production in Oregon will help bring this more efficient and reliable technology into common use.
Google is just one of the investors in the wind farm, with partners on the project including General Electric, Caithness Energy, Tyr Energy, and the Sumitomo Corporation of America. Several of these groups have previous experience in developing or funding power projects.
The $100 million wind farm investment brings Google’s total clean energy investments to over a third of a million dollars. Other recent investments include the $5 million investment in a German solar farm (Google’s first investment in European renewable energy) and a $168 million investment in the BrightSource Ivanpah solar tower (the world’s largest solar farm of its type, slated for completion in 2012). Google’s official press release also indicates that the company is actively seeking out additional clean energy investment opportunities.