Google Plans To Reshape The Energy Grid

Making Energy Investments At Home And Abroad

Google is a company that likes to make investments, and it holds them in a great many places – but one of Google’s chief investment areas is the field of clean and renewable energy.

Though the size of Google’s support for a certain solar power plant in Kenya two years ago is known ($12 million), for some reason Google has not disclosed the size of its investment in the Kenyan wind project.

Over the years, Google’s total investment into renewable energy has now reached over $2 billion, meaning clean and renewable energy is clearly a priority for the company, which has helped the development of renewable energy technologies, and assisted developing countries in their efforts to create stable energy grids.

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Google is backing Africa’s largest wind power project, two years after investing $12 million in the continent’s largest solar power project.

This morning, at a conference in Washington, D.C., the tech giant announced its support for the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in northern Kenya, a project that could provide enough clean energy to power 2 million homes, representing about 15 percent of the capacity of the country’s power grid. The average wind speed at Lake Turkana is almost 25 mph, according to Google.

The move is Google’s 22nd investment in clean energy infrastructure, spanning a total of 2.5 gigawatts of power and more than $2 billion. Most of the company’s investment has been in the US, but Rick Needham, a Google director of energy and sustainability, says the company wants to promote clean energy in the developing world. “The fastest growing economies are here, and there’s a strong need for critical power,” he says of places like Kenya. “Economies are being held back because they don’t have enough power—and yet they have wonderful renewable resources. These nations can meet their future and growing energy needs by tapping into some of the best renewable resources in the world.”

At the same time, Google continues to buy vast amounts of clean energy to drive the massive computer data centers underpinning its online services. To date, Needham says, Google has purchased more than a gigawatt of power for its worldwide network of data centers, drawing on solar and wind. This places Google among the largest corporate buyers of clean energy.


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