Google has thrown its clout and money into an "audacious" plan to build a 350-mile-long undersea transmission cable capable of connecting giant offshore wind installations along the Atlantic seaboard to the main electrical grid. The line "will serve as a clean-energy superhighway, with on-ramps for wind farms" from New York to Virginia, says Rick Needham, Google's green-energy czar. But is the search giant making a good business decision, investing $5 billion for a nearly 40 percent stake in the project?
A smart move in all respects: This is a big win for Google and wind energy, says Seth Weintraub in Fortune. The proposed transmission "backbone" will make it feasible for wind farms to sprout up along the windy Atlantic Coast. And Google not only makes a smart investment and helps assure reliable energy for its growing needs but it also boosts its "environmental image" in a way "much more valuable than any profits they'll receive."
"Google invests in East Coast offshore wind energy"
Google is gambling, again: These kinds of "kooky" investments are part of Google's "iconoclastic approach to business," says the AP's Michael Liedtke in The Salt Lake Tribune. And as with its self-driving cars, financing wind energy could either pay off as a brilliant long-term business decision — after all, Google "sucks up massive amounts of energy" — or "it could turn out to be a total bust." That's what investors signed on for.
"Making sense of Google's seemingly kooky moves"
Putting up money is the easy part: "We applaud Google's investment," says Henry Blodget in Business Insider, but don't expect it to pay off anytime soon. The nation's first offshore wind farm, Cape Wind off Nantucket Sound, just now got federal approval "after ten years — TEN YEARS — of fighting off" lawsuits from "rich people" who didn't want their ocean view obstructed by windmills. So Google, "brace yourselves for one hell of a fight."
"Here's what [Google] can look forward to"