Google to Back “Spine” That Could Transmit Wind Power

Nicolas Loris /


Google is coming to a (future) offshore wind farm near you. In an announcement Tuesday, the technology giant said it is joining with investment firm Good Energies in a $5 billion investment to secure permitting for and begin constructing an underwater electricity transmission line. Also party to the venture is the Japanese trading company Marubeni and the Maryland transmission company Trans-Elect.

The electricity “backbone” will extend 350 miles in federal waters off the Atlantic Coast, from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Virginia. In the article, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff is quoted as saying it will offer “a gathering point for offshore wind for multiple projects up and down the coast.”

This is good news for a couple of reasons. First, it is an example of private companies investing in the energy industry, a seemingly rare occurrence amid the usual array of government energy tax credits, subsidies, and loan guarantees. These “incentives” translate into taxpayers backing investments the private sector might normally shy away from and companies being slow to make their products more efficiently. Both Google and Good Energies will assume 37.5 percent of the equity for the project. More companies joining them would lower each party’s investment and risk. On its blog, Google proffered this statement: