Google's latest investment in wind power is much more than just the latest chapter in the company's support for renewable energy. It's part of a larger strategy that could see the search giant turn into a (very profitable) behemoth in the world of energy. According to Katie Fehrenbacher, veteran renewable energy reporter at Earth2Tech:

  • The Shepherds Flat wind project, into which Google is pouring $100 million, will be the largest wind farm in the world, covering 30 square miles in Oregon
  • Wind power is a great investment for businesses (like Google) smart enough to understand it. This isn't charity: Google's past investments in wind have been justifiable on returns alone, says Rick Needham, Google’s green business operations manager.
  • The Shepherds Flat farm will use an advanced turbine built by GE that uses "permanent magnets," which "ensure high efficiency even at low windspeeds" [PDF].
  • The insatiable, always-on demand for power of Google's data centers mean that Google can cut its costs even further by producing its own power. In the meantime, while it waits for its existing contracts with power companies to expire, it can sell energy from its renewable investments on the open market.