News roundup: Google "gets it" on wind power; clean energy, the smart investment; and wind-powered beer

It’s Wednesday, and Google makes a major investment in wind power, clean energy is still the smart choice, and entrepreneurs in the Outer Banks, N.C., are brewing up a tasty concoction with the help of the wind.

Google has decided to increase its commitment to clean, renewable wind power, with a $75 million investment in the Texas Panhandle:

  • “‘It sure is windy in Texas. So windy, in fact, that we’ve made another wind energy investment there,’ said Nick Coons, principal for renewable energy, on the company’s official blog. ‘In late December, we finalized an agreement to invest $75 million in the Panhandle 2 wind farm in Carson County, outside of Amarillo.’”
  • “Pattern Energy Group is developing Panhandle 2, which will have a production capacity of 182 megawatts, for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid downstate.”
  • “This investment is Google’s second in the Texas Panhandle following the $200 million investment in January 2013 in Spinning Spur northwest of Vega in Oldham County. It sells power to Xcel Energy subsidiary Southwestern Public Service for customers in the Texas Panhandle, South Plains and eastern New Mexico.”

NRDC’s Switchboard blog highlights some of the many reasons why investing in clean, renewable energy is a worthwhile pursuit:

  • “Renewable energy isn’t just about cutting pollution. It also helps keep our homes heated and the lights on during extreme weather. When frigid temperatures last week caused the unexpected shutdown of two power plants in Texas, wind energy stepped in to help keep residents warm. According to Reuters, the state was able to avoid rolling blackouts and keep heaters running with the help of a critical boost of energy from West Texas wind farms, which turned the high winds of the bitter arctic front into clean electricity.”
  • “In addition to job growth, investing in clean energy has brought about a major reduction in energy costs. The price of solar panels is down 75 percent from 2008, and the cost of wind power has been cut in half over the past two decades.”
  • “We need a more reliable, less polluting energy system that can see us through a future of more extreme weather, and usher us into an era of energy security and climate stability, with good, green jobs for American workers.”

Finally, Outer Banks Brewing Station of Kill Devil Hills, N.C., is keeping their power bills down using the pollution-free, fuel-free power of the wind:

  • “The Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills is known as the first wind-powered brewery in the country, according to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Established in 2001, founders Eric Reece and Aubrey Davis envisioned an environmentally friendly brew pub.”
  • “‘There were other breweries buying wind credit before us, but we are the first to be powered by a wind turbine,’ Meyers says. ‘The bill is usually higher than $250 for us, so the wind turbine sets it off. You have windy months and not-so-windy months. Spring time – March, April, May – that’s our windiest time.’”
  • “[T]he wind turbine will offset approximately 1.2 tons of air pollutants and 250 tons of greenhouse gases over its operating life.”

For more great wind power news, check out this week’s other roundups:


Kevin Welch, “Google invests $75M in Carson County wind farm.” Amarillo Globe-News. 14 January 2014.

Peter Lehner, “Clean Energy Continues to Be a Smart Investment.” Switchboard, Natural Resources Defense Council Blog. 14 January 2014.

Dawn Kurry, “Outer Banks brewery cutting costs with wind power.” Triangle Business Journal. 14 January 2014.


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