Reporting from San Francisco — Google Inc. is backing a plan to lay undersea cables to connect proposed windmills off the mid-Atlantic coast, a step the Internet giant hopes will boost wind power as an energy source.
The offshore wind power transmission line would stretch 350 miles from New Jersey to Virginia and could supply enough electricity to serve about 1.9 million households. But the ambitious project, which could cost billions of dollars, faces major hurdles as federal subsidies for construction of wind power installations are set to expire in 2012.
Google said in a blog post that the project would rely on offshore power hubs that collect power from wind farms and deliver it via undersea cables to electrical transmission systems on land.
"This system will act as a superhighway for clean energy," wrote Rick Needham, Google's green-business operations director.
The project could lighten the load on the congested Northeast power grid, Needham said. He noted that the federal government last week approved the first-ever offshore wind development lease for another project.