Google in £3bn offshore deal

Google said yesterday it is to part finance a £3.8bn subsea cable network off the US mid-Atlantic coast, designed to help offshore wind developers connect 6GW of energy to the […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Google said yesterday it is to part finance a £3.8bn subsea cable network off the US mid-Atlantic coast, designed to help offshore wind developers connect 6GW of energy to the American grid.

But also this week the head of Google’s renewable energy team said he had found few “home run” ideas on alternative energy.

The computer giant is to invest 37.5% of the equity in the initial development stage of the Atlantic Wind Connection transmission project, which, if built, will stretch 350 miles along the eastern seaboard from New Jersey to Virginia.

Google is believed to be putting in £1.3bn of the total finance. The project has to be approved by the US federal government and the relevant state governments.

The US currently has no offshore wind capacity, but the Obama administration hopes to install 54GW by 2030.

In 2007, Google launched a project to develop renewable energy initiatives. This week, the head of that project, Bill Weihl, told Reuters that the renewable picture was “a little bit bleak.”

“There aren’t that many people working on home runs”, he said. “We have not seen things that we felt were big enough potential breakthrough and low enough risk.”

“A lot of our early work was very focused on what you might think of as the early stage research and development. In the last year we’ve been a little more focused on finding things that will drive the demonstration and deployment end.”