Mojave Desert site of Google wind farm investmentA Mojave Desert wind farm is the latest renewable energy project by Internet titan Google Inc. who announced the funding of $55 million to build wind turbines in the Tehachapi Mountains.
Google unveiled the investment in an industry convention in Anaheim, California. Citibank is investing another $55 million for the Mojave Desert wind farm.
California once led the world in wind energy development, at one point accounting for as much as 90 percent of power generated from wind farms. But the Global Wind Energy Council reports that number has dwindled to a measly 1.6 percent as larger, newer and better-funded wind energy projects elsewhere took over the market.
Google's project signals a possible revival of wind power in California. Such a high-profile investor may lure others into putting money into future wind energy projects in the state, developers said.
The Alta Wind Energy Project located in the Mojave Desert is expected to provide 1.5 gigawatts of power to 450,000 homes in the region. It will also become a major jobs creator and pump at least $1.2 billion into the local economy.
Renewable energy sector analysts say that the lack of support from the government has hurt wind energy investments. Among reasons cited were delays in granting permits, short-term incentives and expiring tax credits.
Several smaller investors have seen their wind energy projects fail in recent years and overall, the industry is still not quite in good shape according to observers.
But Google has brought back California as a viable investment haven once again for wind power investors with its huge Mojave Desert wind farm.