Google to Co-Sponsor $5B Wind Energy Infrastructure Project (GOOG, APWR, AMSC, TRN, BWEN, GE)
Maryland-based Trans-Elect has proposed a massive underwater transmission line that could be the backbone for future wind farms, and the project earned some high profile support from dotcom giant Google (GOOG). According to coverage by The New York Times, Google and renewable energy investment firm Good Energies have each agreed to take a 37.5% stake in the project, which is expected to cost $5 billion. The 350-mile transmission line will connect to the Atlantic coast in southern Virginia, Delaware, and at two points in New Jersey, and will have the capacity to support the equivalent of five large nuclear reactors worth of energy. Ultimately, the transmission infrastructure would allow for major offshore wind turbine application as states look to increase their utilization of renewable energy.
The first phase of the project — a 150-mile stretch from New Jersey to Delaware — could go into service by 2016, according to The Times, but the rest of the project wouldn’t be completed until 2021 at the earliest. While the infrastructure could take more than a decade to be complete, it will be interesting to see whether the Wind Energy Stocks Index gets a boost from the step towards broader wind energy proliferation.
Over the last month, A-Power Energy Generation Systems (APWR), American Superconductor (AMSC), Trinity Industries (TRN), and Broadwind Energy (BWEN) have all surged by more than 20% as the Index outperforms the S&P 500 by 9%.
Earlier this year, we saw Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens de-emphasize the wind portion of his Pickens’ Plan to rid the U.S. from dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The plan, which initially allotted for the country’s largest wind farm on the Texas panhandle, hit headwinds when a lack of transmission infrastructure was available to bring energy from the remote turbines to population centers where it is most needed. So Pickens slashed his order for General Electric (GE) wind turbines by more than half, and has shifted the focus of his lobbying efforts to natural gas.
While Pickens may have put the cart before the horse with his once lofty wind energy proposal, Sierra Club director Melinda Pierce told The Times, audacious ideas like the Trans-Elect offshore transmission spine “might just be what we need to break through the wretched logjam.” It will be interesting to follow the project’s progress, and see whether the investment can boost interest in the wind energy sector.
Investors can track the Wind Energy Stocks Index for performance trends and a suite of other metrics at tickerspy.com.
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