Google Invests in Wind Farm: And 5 More Intriguing Investments

Google plans to become carbon neutral at the same time promote green energy by entering into a 20-year agreement to buy power from an Iowa wind farm. The farm, part of NextEra Energy Resources in Story and Hardin counties, will sell Google 114 megawatts of renewable power. Google says that the energy it will buy is enough to power several of its data centers.

Google reported on its blog that it has long been trying to promote green energy and has pledged to become carbon neutral. In reality, Google will not directly power its server farms with NextEra Energy. The move is a bid to boost renewable energy and secure NextEra Energy's future by helping it grow, Google says. The wind energy Google buys, it explains, will be sold back to the regional grid. That in turn reduces -- by 114 megawatts -- the amount of non-renewable energy created to maintain the regional power grid.

NextEra Energy Resources has about 700 wind turbines in use in Iowa capable of serving an average of 250,000 homes. It has 9000 turbines in 17 states and Canada.

But a wind farm is only one of many of Google's unusual investments. Read on:

Geothermal Technology - Google has spent more than $10 million on three projects to advance Enhanced Geothermal Systems and harness energy beneath the earth's surface: $4 million to Potter Drilling, $6.25 to Alta Rock Energy, Inc. and another $489,521 to Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab for improving geothermal resource assessment techniques and updating geothermal mapping in North America.

Venture Capital - Google has spent tens of millions of dollars investing in fledgling businesses like OpenCandy, Pixazza, SCVNGR, Adimab and Corduro.

Electric Cars - Google has a fleet of electric cars in its RechargeIT project, to promote electric vehicles and educate the public on the performance of the vehicles which can get 93 miles to the gallon.

Google Lunar X Prize - A $30 million competition for the first privately funded team to
send a robot to the moon, travel 500 meters and transmit video, images and data back to Earth.

Saving the Classics - Google is committing to saving several Greek and Latin classics, such as the Iliad, and works by Sophocles and Caesar by digitizing them to preserve them for future generations.

Sure, it may seem like Google is taking over the world, but isn't it nice to know it's not doing as much evil as it could?

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