Texas Business Report: Google Invests $200M in Panhandle Wind Farm

The Spinning Spur Wind Project generates enough electricity to power more than 60,000 homes.
Sat January 12, 2013 3:43 am
Flickr | shock264

The Texas economy is one of the most robust in the world. Wildly profitable companies and ingenious entrepreneurs call this state home, and what happens here influences businesses around the nation. Here’s a slice of the profits, losses, big deals, and backroom decisions happening across Tex as this week.

Surge Results
Google announced in a blog post this week that it has invested about $200 million in a 161-megawatt wind farm in the Texas panhandle. Spinning Spur Wind Project, which generates enough electricity to power more than 60,000 homes, began full-time operations in December, according to the company. Located 35 miles from Amarillo, Spinning Spur is the eleventh renewable energy project Google has invested in since 2010. Those projects generate a combined total of more than 2 gigawatts of electricity, TechCrunch reports.

The Bottom Line: The search giant said it is expanding its clean energy portfolio because renewable projects “offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets.”

Shadow of a Drought
Texas rice farmers appear to be heading toward a dry summer after the Lower Colorado River Authority approved a plan this week that will likely cut off their access to irrigation water from Central Texas lakes. The LCRA will ask state environmental regulators for emergency drought powers that will allow it “to withhold releases from rice farmers if the combined storage of lakes Travis and Buchanan … is less than 850,000 acre-feet on March 1,” the Austin American-Statesman reports.

The lakes are now 24,000 acre-feet short of that threshold—enough water for more than 70,000 Austin households—and

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