On its blog the company said it inked "an agreement to invest in the development of a backbone transmission project off the Mid-Atlantic coast that offers a solid financial return while helping to accelerate offshore wind development-so it's both good business and good for the environment. The new project can enable the creation of thousands of jobs, improve consumer access to clean energy sources and increase the reliability of the Mid-Atlantic region's existing power grid."
The project, known as the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone will be built across 350 miles of ocean from New Jersey to Virginia and will be able to connect 6,000MW of offshore wind turbines. That's equivalent to 60% of the wind energy that was installed in the entire country last year and enough to serve approximately 1.9 million households, Google stated.
"The AWC backbone will be built around offshore power hubs that will collect the power from multiple offshore wind farms and deliver it efficiently via sub-sea cables to the strongest, highest capacity parts of the land-based transmission system. This system will act as a superhighway for clean energy. By putting strong, secure transmission in place, the project removes a major barrier to scaling up offshore wind, an industry that despite its potential, only had its first federal lease signed last week and still has no operating projects in the U.S.," Google stated.
Google's backing of such a large offshore project could be a real shot in the arm for the offshore wind market which basically doesn't exist in the US.
In a massive report on the offshore wind environment, the US Department of Energy last week said that while the United States has not built any offshore wind projects about 20 projects representing more than 2,000 MW of capacity are in the planning and permitting process. Most of these activities are in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, although projects are being considered along the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Coast. The deep waters off the West Coast, however, pose a technology challenge for the near term.
"Although Europe now has a decade of experience with offshore wind projects in shallow water, the technology essentially evolved from land-based wind energy systems. Significant opportunities remain for tailoring the technology to better address key differences in the offshore environment. These opportunities are multiplied when deepwater floating system technology is considered, which is now in the very early stages of development," the report stated.
Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8
Layer 8 Extra
Check out these other hot stories: