News roundup: Google invests $1bn, opportunity in Michigan, Lake Erie proposal wins support

19 March 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

In today’s roundup, highlights of Google’s huge investment in clean energy, a chance for Michigan to power economic development with wind, and environmental groups support a Lake Erie offshore proposal.

Google has thrown its weight behind renewable energy with a series of investments that translate into wider benefits for the company, including new jobs:

  • There’s a tech company that’s concerned with green – and no, not because it’s the color of money. The Internet juggernaut Google has recently invested $1 billion in green, clean, reusable energy. It’s an investment that could change the way consumers and users access Google services, depending on how the company plans to utilize these new assets.
  • If you haven’t guessed it by now, Google invested specifically in clean wind power — $275 million in Texas resources alone. In addition, Google heated things up by including solar energy resources in the mix. So, why did it do it? According to CNBC, “Google spent $2.25 billion on data center and infrastructure spending, a huge area of costs for the company. That’s one of the reasons the company is aggressively moving to solar, wind and other alternative energies to power its data centers and banks of servers scattered around the world.”
  • While the numbers aren’t yet in on how many jobs it’ll create, it’s obviously opening up opportunities that weren’t within the company before. Any company, tech or otherwise, that expands its verticals is investing in job growth – whether directly or indirectly.

Michigan is a wind power success story, and with the proper policy in place, the opportunities in the state are sure to keep growing:

  • From the article: "Scott Viciana says that, in 2013, businesses in Michigan created over 17 hundred clean energy jobs. His company is supplying parts for a new wind farm in Huron County, in Michigan's thumb region, scheduled to be finished by the end of the year. Owned by DTE Energy, the Big Turtle Wind Farm could generate enough power for nine thousand homes."

On Lake Erie, a pioneering wind project has won the support of some major environmental groups, something it considers key before moving forward:

  • Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. is expressing relief and gratitude that its plans to erect the first wind farm on the Great Lakes has won the endorsement of leading environmental groups.
  • Its so-called Icebreaker project will require approvals from an alphabet of state and federal agencies, from the EPA to the FAA to the Army Corps of Engineers. LEEDCo began applying for critical permits two weeks ago. Tucked into its application packages are letters of support from pillars of the conservation community. The Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club lent its endorsement, as did Environment Ohio, Mom's Clean Air Force, Ohio Interfaith Power & Light and the Earth Day Coalition.
  • LEEDCo has already secured about $4 million in federal funds to design and engineer the wind farm. It's now competing with five other offshore wind projects for a $46.7 million investment from the U.S. Department of Energy. Three winners are to be announced in May.

Be sure check out this week’s other news roundups:

Sources:

Hailey Robinson, “Green Future: Google Invests $1 Billion in Clean Energy.” Environmental News Network. 18 March 2014.

Andrew Green, “Renewable energy advocates call for more state tax credits.” WKZO. 18 March 2014.

Robert L. Smith, “Proposed Lake Erie wind farm catches a new breeze, secures key green support.” The Plain Dealer. 19 March 2014.