Courtesy of Treehugger, here's yet more evidence that wind power has become an economically competitive, mainstream power source across America.
Over the past few years, Google has started to turn into an energy company - arenewable energy company - on top of everything else that it does. They've made countless investments in solar power and wind power, as well as more experimental clean energy projects. Their goal is to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
Now they've decided to buy the whole 240-megawatt production from the Happy Hereford wind farm outside of Amarillo, Texas, as soon as Chermac Energy, the Native-American-owned company that is building it, is done with construction in late 2014. This brings Google's total wind energy portfolio to more than 570 MW, which they say is "enough energy to power approximately 170,000 U.S. households."
So here's the thing: Google is highly successful company that makes a lot of money. The point is, Google wouldn't be going heavily into clean energy if it were only for altruistic reasons. Clearly, Google sees wind power as a wise investment, given wind's rapidly falling costs (Stephen Lacey noted the other day that "the cost of electricity from wind has fallen to around 5 cents per kilowatt-hour -- a 90 percent drop since the 1980s"), its reliability (there are no "wind embargoes," unlike with oil), and its other positive attributes (e.g., it emits no pollution and does not rely on huge quantities of water, as with natural gas fracking). Given that wind power and other clean energy sources are seeing a continued drop in price and a concomitant boom in production, the great news is that Google's big wind purchase is no aberration. To the contrary, in coming years, we can expect to see a lot more moves like Google just made from a lot more companies across America.