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Google to fund wind power project

The Atlantic Wind Connection transmission backbone

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

BILL RADKE: Google spends a lot of energy operating its massive array of server farms. Now the company is investing in an estimated $5 billion power transmission system off the East Coast, with the goal of carrying energy from future offshore wind turbines to millions of Mid-Atlantic homes. Reporter Janet Babin joins us live to tell us more. Good morning, Janet.

JANET BABIN: Good morning, Bill.

RADKE: How big a project is this?

BABIN: According to Google's blog, this underwater transmission system is going to span 350 miles of coastline, from New Jersey down to Virginia. Google envisions this system would deliver wind energy gathered off the coast from potential wind turbines through this underwater cable system to about 2 million homes. As you know, there's a lot of wind off most coasts, including the East Coast, but so far there are no operating wind energy projects there. Google says one of the barriers to harnessing that wind has been the lack of a transmission system. It's a lot of infrastructure to build. And so Google thinks this investment will remove that barrier and could actually increase wind energy construction along the East Coast.

RADKE: Well Janet, what about the barrier of some opposition to wind turbines near the coastline?

BABIN: Yeah they are kind of clunky, hulking structures these turbines and they can create lots of noise and they can sort of distract from that picturesque coastline. But Google says this transmission system would be far enough away from the coast so hopefully avoid those problems. The turbines could be built some 15 miles off the coast and hopefully noise wouldn't be an issue and you'd barely be able to see them from the shoreline.

RADKE: That's Janet Babin reporting live. Thank you, Janet.

BABIN: Thank you, Bill.

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