Based in shallow water 10 to 15 miles off the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Virgina, the AWC would harvest strong, steady winds at sea, delivering energy to shore via underwater cables. The project is a contender to become the first US operating offshore wind farm.
Google’s Green Business Operations director Rick Needham described the AWC as “a superhighway for clean energy”.
“We just signed 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,” he wrote on the company’s blog.
He added that the project’s 6 GW of planned capacity is equivalent to 60% of the entire wind energy installed across the US last year.
“With few other renewable energy options ideally suited for the Atlantic coast, the AWC backbone helps states meet their renewable energy goals and standards (PDF) by enabling a local offshore wind industry to deploy thousands of megawatts of clean, cost-effective wind energy,” he wrote.
Google has already invested heavily in wind energy, buying 20 years of wind energy this year through its Google Energy offshoot.
“We’re willing to take calculated risks on early stage ideas and projects that can have dramatic impacts while offering attractive returns,” wrote Needham.