Google, Marubeni to develop underwater power cables off US
Google and Japanese investment firm Marubeni will invest in the development of undersea power cables off the US Atlantic coast to deliver electricity from offshore wind, the companies said Tuesday.
Swiss equity fund Good Energies Investment and US utility Atlantic Grid Development LLC will also participate in the "Atlantic Wind Connection" venture, in which Google has a 37.5 stake and Marubeni has 15 percent.
The cables will carry electricity from offshore wind turbines to be built in the Atlantic and eventually deliver around 6,000 megawatts of power to the four states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, Marubeni said.
On its official blog, Google said the corridor would produce the "equivalent to 60 percent of the wind energy that was installed in the entire country (US) last year" and serve approximately 1.9 million households.
"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 Internet search giant said.
Google announced in 2007 that it would invest in renewable energy and previously launched a free software, PowerMeter, that allows individuals and businesses to monitor their energy consumption.
Construction of the Atlantic Wind Connection cables will be divided into five segments, with the first due to go into operation in 2016, delivering 1,500 megawatts, Marubeni said.
"The total cost of the development will be some hundreds of billions of yen (billions of dollars), and the first segment will cost about 1.2 billion dollars," said a Marubeni spokeswoman without elaborating.
An earlier report by the Nikkei business daily put the total cost at 5 billion dollars.
The proposed project could remove "a major barrier to scaling up offshore wind," Google said, noting that the government last week approved the first-ever offshore wind development lease for a different project.
Marubeni, which invests in everything from food and energy to metals and finance, noted that green energy legislation in the United States was progressing with surging demand for power cables.
It said it would make "further efforts" to work in the US power cable business.
(c) 2010 AFP