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Google-Backed Wind Power Project Gains Initial Approval

A Google backed wind power project has cleared the first hurdle in gaining approval from regulatory bodies.

The $5 billion Atlantic Wind Connection project was formed to build an undersea power line to connect wind farms located along the coast between New York and Virginia.

The project, in which the search engine giant has a 42 percent stake, was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to give a 12.59 percent return on equity owned by the project’s partners. The rate is lower than what the partners had originally proposed.

Commission chairman Jon Wellinghoff said that the approval for the project was granted because it was going to be included in the transmission expansion plan proposed by electric grid provider PJM Interconnection.

Aside from Google, other partners in the project include Japan based trading firm Marubeni and Switzerland based Good Energies. The project is being organised by Atlantic Grid Development.

The project now requires regulatory approval from the US Interior Department for building the line in the seabed. The project would also need regulatory approval from regulators in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, Mercury News reports.

The project is meant to reduce energy-congestion in the heavily populated northeast corridor.