Google's Major Wind Bid

Source:

"Project should generate enough power to serve 1.9M households."

Investors led by technology giant Google on Tuesday announced a five billion-dollar project to power the US East Coast with wind from the Atlantic Ocean.

The project would set up offshore wind turbines and a new transmission grid stretching 350 miles (565 kilometers) from New Jersey to Virginia, the most densely populated part of the United States, which suffered blackouts in 2003.

Rick Needham, director of green business operations and strategy at Google, described the project as a new "superhighway" for alternative energy, creating jobs and eventually providing enough power to serve 1.9 million households.

The companies said they hoped to begin work on the project, called the Atlantic Wind Connection, in early 2013 and complete it by 2020, subject to government approval.

Investors said they would not seek government funding. The U.S. Congress has soured on efforts to battle climate change.

But the Obama administration has backed alternative energy. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week approved the first US offshore wind farm near Massachusetts.

The United States is already the world leader in wind energy in the raw amount of energy production. But wind farms are concentrated in sparsely populated states in the Western plains.

Offshore projects have encountered opposition due to residents who find them an eyesore and environmentalists who fear they will harm animals, particularly migratory birds.

Mitchell voiced confidence that the Atlantic Wind Connection would not face significant opposition as the farms will be at least 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the coast.

With the right incentives, wind power could meet one-fifth of the entire world's electricity demand within 20 years.

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