Google remains the model for corporate responsibility when it comes to sourcing clean energy (it also has lots of extra cash to invest in these projects where the return on investment carries a fair amount of risk). It’s now at almost a billion invested in clean energy after announcing that it’s putting $75 million into a wind farm in Iowa that is already online, producing 50 MW of power. Google has a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa and while it does not appear that this power will be directly routed to the data center, Google’s official blog says the power will be sold to the Central Iowa Power Cooperative, adding clean power to the grid.
Iowa is a big wind state and its Congresspeople have lobbied to see the Production Tax Credit for wind power extended. It sunsets at the end of this year and if it is allowed to run out, we’ll see a curtailment in wind power deployment and layoffs, which we’re already seeing. Wind power remains the leading source of renewable energy (aside from hydro) being developed worldwide mainly due to its cost competitiveness. And for the time being, Google’s investment in wind power is probably a safer bet than a solar investment.