Google Invests $200 Million in Texas Wind Farm

Google Inc. (GOOG) said Wednesday it has made a roughly $200 million equity investment in a west Texas wind farm, as the Internet search giant adds another green energy deal to its collection.

The commitment to the Spinning Spur Wind Project announced Wednesday brings Google’s total investments in alternative energy to about $1.2 billion. The company has backed 11 different projects with a combined capacity to produce 2 gigawatts of electricity — enough to power about 500,000 U.S. homes for a year.

Google has been pouring money into alternative energy since 2010 because it believes the investments will prove profitable as the demand for cleaner sources of power rises amid increasing concerns about the pollution caused by oil and coal. The company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., is consuming more power as it builds more data centers to run its Internet search engine and other online services used by more than 1 billion people throughout the world.

Google, of Mountain View, Calif., said on a company website that the Spinning Spur Wind Project in Oldham County, Texas, is a 161-megawatt facility capable of powering more than 60,000 U.S. homes.

Such investments “offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets,” Google said.

As the operator of the most popular search engine in the U.S. in addition to numerous other Web services, Google has serious energy demands on its data centers and the company has long been poking around in alternative sources of electricity.

The company says in total it has committed more than $1 billion to wind and solar energy projects, and that all of the projects it has invested in can generate some two gigawatts of power–or enough for 500,000 U.S. homes for a year.