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Google to Invest in Major Offshore Wind Power Line Project

Google is planning to fork over about $200 million in an initial investment to help build a massive set of power lines along the East Coast that would help move power generated from offshore wind to people’s homes.

The Internet giant is partnering with investment firm Good Energies to get the project off the ground. Good Energy is also expected to make a $200 million initial investment in the project, which is estimated to cost $5 billion, The New York Times reports.

Building a so-called “transmission backbone,” which would move electricity generated at offshore wind plants to those that need it, is considered essential to proving the viability of offshore wind, a technology that has yet to be built in the United States. The Interior Department signed a lease last week for Cape Wind, a proposed wind project off the coast of Massachusetts that many hope will be the first offshore wind project to be built in federal waters (as I’ve noted before, Texas, which operates outside of federal rules, is hoping to beat Cape Wind).

While many have praised the project, others warn that progress could get tangled up in regulatory delays. The Times reports:

Industry experts called the plan promising, but warned that as a first-of-a-kind effort, it was bound to face bureaucratic delays and could run into unforeseen challenges, from technology problems to cost overruns. While several undersea electrical cables exist off the Atlantic Coast already, none has ever picked up power from generators along the way.

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