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12 Oct 2010: Google Backs Offshore Grid
To Link Wind Farms Off U.S. East Coast

Google and a U.S. financial firm are investing in a proposed $5 billion undersea transmission line that would connect future offshore wind farms along the mid-Atlantic coast, a development that could eventually remove a major hurdle for the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry. Google and New York-based Good Energies will each will assume a 37.5 percent equity stake in the project, the New York Times reports. The 350-mile transmission line, with a projected capacity of 6,000 megawatts — equivalent to the output of five nuclear reactors — would be installed in shallow federal waters 15 to 20 miles offshore and stretch from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Va. The first 150 miles of construction could be completed by 2016, according to the Times. While the proposal is expected to face some challenges, industry experts and federal officials called it a promising development. “It provides a gathering point for offshore wind for multiple projects up and down the coast,” said Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Last week, U.S. officials reported that offshore wind has the potential to meet 30 percent of the nation’s electricity needs by 2030.


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