The investment announced yesterday by Google, private equity fund Good Energies and Japanese industrial group Marubeni is an initial first-round set to finance preliminary development work supporting the offshore grid system, including securing crucial federal and state permits.
An industry source tells G.E.R.� that the amount invested by� Google, Good Energies and Marubeni is in the tens-of millions dollar level. Google and Good Energies each hold a 37.5 percent stake� in development company Atlantic Wind Connection, a unit of Washington, D.C.,-based Trans-Elect. Marubeni has a 15 percent stake in the venture.� Atlantic Wind Connection will oversee the construction of the 350 miles, (562 kilometers) offshore grid system.
Google spokesman Parag Chokshi declined to comment on the exact amount invested by his company, pointing out that the� investment was made at the corporate level. He says Google wouldn’t be backing the project if it didn’t believe it could turn a profit. “We saw an opportunity to generate a financial return, backing an infrastructure that could be a real game-changer,” Chokshi explains.
The regulatory process supporting the construction of renewable energy projects can be lengthy and expensive. Boston-based Energy Management, the parent company of Cape Wind, is understood to to secure federal and state permits to support the construction of its landmark 420 megawatts offshore wind farm off the� Massachusetts coast.
Construction on the transmission backbone is scheduled to start in 2013. At this time the project will require a second round of equity funding, likely coming from its current partners, although Chokshi declined to confirm if Google had committed to participate in future funding rounds.
The total project is expected to cost $5 billion to develop and should be fully operational by 2020. An initial stage should be finished and operational by 2016, .