Google to buy wind power from Bay Area’s Altamont Pass

Google will finally be able to say that its Mountain View headquarters is powered by 100 percent clean energy. On Wednesday, Google announced via a blog post (and reported in more detail by the San Jose Mercury) that it plans to buy half of the electricity that will be produced by a newly upgraded wind project at the Altamont Pass, off of the 580 freeway near Livermore, Calif.

The Altamont Pass wind farm was originally developed in the 1980s and was one of the first and largest wind farms in the U.S. But over the decades, wind turbine technology has progressed considerably, and in recent years thousands of the smaller turbines at the Altamont Pass have started to be decommissioned.

Google to buy wind power from refurbished Altamont Pass wind project

Google to buy wind power from refurbished Altamont Pass wind project

Now NextEra Energy Resources, which is developing the new wind project, plans to install a few hundred newer and larger turbines to provide the same amount of wind power as the many smaller ones used to. Google plans to buy 43 MW — or half — of the total amount of wind power from the project via a 20-year power purchase agreement and an undisclosed company (one that isn’t a tech company or utility, the Mercury reported), will buy the other half of the power. The new turbines will start providing wind power to the grid in 2016.

This is just the latest move by Google to tap into clean power. Over the years the company has spent over a billion dollars on various clean energy projects, through project financing, power purchase agreements and even equity. Over a third of Google’s energy now comes from clean power.

And Google isn’t the only internet company that’s doing this. Earlier this week Apple announced that it plans to buy $850 million worth of solar power from a new solar panel farm that is being built in Monterey County, Calif. Apple has a goal to run completely on clean power, and will be powering a new data center in Arizona with solar farms, too.

Google Invests $100M in (Another!) Wind Farm

Google’s investments in clean power are now rivaling that of stand alone clean energy investors. The search engine giant has invested $100 million in the world’s largest wind farm under construction in Oregon. With this investment, Google has put more than $350 million into clean power.

New Name for FPL Energy Touts its Clean Cred

FPL Group (s FPL) has given its energy generation business a flashy new name, changing it from FPL Energy to NextEra Energy Resources. FPL, based in Juno Beach, Fla. said the new name better reflects the unit, which it said is the largest producer of wind and solar energy in North America.

The business, which also has natural-gas, nuclear and hydro power plants under its belt, operates more than 6.3 gigawatts of wind generation, along with 310 megawatts of solar thermal.

In better economic times, a name change could start the rumor mill going about possible bigger changes in the works, like FPL possibly spinning off its renewable energy arm. But more likely FPL is just putting its clean energy face forward, especially in light of the upcoming administration’s call for more clean technology in the U.S.
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