Google Buys Wind, Bets on Sun

Google Buys Wind, Bets on Sun

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Google is stepping up wind-power purchases to reduce emissions, even as it devotes most of its renewable energy investments to sun-related projects, a trade-off aimed at reining in costs as the company seeks higher returns. Google drew 30 percent of the energy it consumed last year from renewable sources, virtually all of it from wind, up from 19 percent a year earlier. Yet of the $917 million that the company has invested in renewable-energy projects, about two-thirds—or $622 million —is channeled toward solar.

Wind power is at least 50 percent cheaper than solar energy, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That explains why Google, which consumes 2.26 million megawatt-hours of electricity a year, mainly for data centers that run its billions of Web searches, increasingly prefers wind. Whole Foods Market, Bank of New York Mellon, Starbucks, and Intel are among those companies that made the biggest wind-power purchases in 2010, data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance show.

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