Internet search giant Google has invested $39m (£25.6m) in two windfarms in North Dakota.
The deal marks the first direct investment in a large-scale green energy project by Google, which is one of the world’s largest users of electricity via its data centres, which house millions of servers.
The windfarms are run by NextEra Energy Resources, the biggest wind power generator in the US, and will provide 170MW of wind energy capacity, enough to provide electricity to 55,000 homes.
Rick Needham, Google’s green business operations manager, said the windfarms will help “accelerate the deployment of the latest clean energy technology while providing attractive returns to Google and more capital for developers to build additional projects”.
The wind farms are expected to make use of cutting-edge turbine technologies, pioneering the use of control systems that can constantly monitor output from each turbine and continuously adjust individual blade angles to improve efficiency and enable the use of blades that are 15% larger than on standard turbines.
In November 2007, Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org announced its Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal initiative, a project that has pledged to invest several hundred million dollars to support the development of renewable.
Under the project, Google is already investing heavily in research in utility scale solar thermal energy and innovative forms of wind power.
Earlier this year it was revealed that company has lodged a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would allow it to buy and sell electricity on the wholesale market, prompting analysts to speculate that the company may ultimately become a supplier of green energy.