Google’s foray into promoting the building of off-shore transmission lines for wind energy farms off the US East Coast is a great idea. Googe does this with a 37.5% stake (alongwith Good Energies and Marubeni Corporation ) in the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) project of Trans-Elect .Trans-Elect is the implementing organization for AWC.
[ Note this post is from October 12, 2010 and is updated for formatting on May 19, 2021]
The North-East US is overcrowded like the urban centers elsehere in the world mentioned in the blog post below. There is really no space to put up additional electricity capacity and in fact Northeast Utilities and NSTAR have tied up to build a 1.1 B$ transmission line from Quebec, Canada to New Hampshire to transmit low cost hydro-electric power from Canada.
Although unrelated to it’s search business, the Google thinking really makes sense from a diversification point of view. Once the transmission lines are in place the wind farms will be out of sight about 10-15 miles off the coast from New Jersey to Virginia. Off-shore wind farms do sound less dangerous than off shore oil drilling decks. Besides, winds and oceans seem to go together and probably the impact on aquatic life will be minimal and the impact on shipping and ports will be easy to manage. Building the transmission lines will help connect the off-shore wind farms to the transmission hubs of the North Eastern US power grid and change the wind energy scene in much the same way as optic fibre cables changed the telecom and Internet access situation. It should also create jobs in the construction and more economic activity that will be generated by a stronger power grid in the north eastern US.