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Google Turns Its Renewable Energy Sights on Africa

18 Oct 16:00 by Steve Walia

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Google is one of the many big brands investing heavily in renewable energy, often in a bid to force the government to take similar concerted action and to pick up the slack in their absence. The company's latest project is to invest more heavily in Africa's green power. Google is particularly interested in the sub-Saharan area of Africa and already has a $12 million USD solar power investment there in South Africa. It is also an investor in the Lake Turkana wind development in Kenya - the largest in the continent to date. Google owns 12.5pc of this project, which is being developed by Vestas.

The company has said that it sees a significant opportunity in the renewable energy markets of Africa and it is keen to invest for greater stability and capacity in the region's energy supply, reducing the need for expensive fossil fuel imports and diesel generation.

The company has now committed to over twenty green power projects across the world worth over $2.5 billion USA in total - primarily through direct ownership models of solar and wind developments and additional power-purchase arrangements. Much of the bought capacity is used to power Google's vast data centres in Europe and the USA. However, Google is now particularly interested in the increasingly digitised African nations, which are seeing a huge rise in then number of citizens coming online.

Google's investment in the Lake Turkana projects makes it the first American company to buy into a key wind development project in the sub-Saharan region, and it places it in a good position in Africa's rapidly expanding clean energy sector. Google was just one of a group of primary investors that committed to the Lake Turkana project after the World Bank turned it down for loan guarantees in 2012.