The plan is to build a 560-kilometre underwater electric cable that will connect massive new offshore wind farms to power grids off the US East Coast. The new windfarms will provide power to 1.9m homes, Google said.
The USA already has enough windfarms to meet the needs of 9.7 million homes, the article reveals.
Reliable estimates put the total project cost at around $5bn. Google’s initial investment could be around $200m.
“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,” Rick Needham, Green Business Operations Director, said. “We believe in investing in projects that make good business sense and further the development of renewable energy. We’re willing to take calculated risks on early stage ideas and projects that can have dramatic impacts while offering attractive returns.”
Looking at the global picture, this article in FastCompany estimates that wind could potentially provide 20% of the world’s power needs by 2020, with China taking the lead. (“Do we believe that? … Even a very conservative scenario would see 4.8% of our needs met inside the next 10 years — equal to [all of] Europe’s energy consumption.”)
Even “tiny Portugal” it points out, already has “the second highest wind-power mix in the world”.
But it looks like the UK, for so long the world leader in innovation, will be taking a back seat this time.