Illustration by Christine Hipp
Illustration by Christine Hipp

Silicon Valley got its name from its number of silicon chip manufacturers in the 1970s. However, if new Google investments prove fruitful, they may rename it Green Valley.

Google’s recent $200 million investment in a Texas wind farm is a strong bet that more big businesses should make. Making sustainability a corporate priority is the type of risk that should be encouraged.

In last year’s election, business was often seen by the public as an enemy of progressive causes because of its staunch support for Citizen’s United and a Republican party fraught with Reagan-era economic beliefs. However, Google’s dominance of tech markets in recent years has shown good business practice is not incompatible with striving for sustainability.

The scale of Google’s investment is an impressive hallmark of Google’s forward thinking business model. The Spinning Spur Wind Project is able to power 60,000 homes for a single year, and will be looking to add capacity with Google’s investment. For reference, that’s the same capacity of the Hoover Dam’s output in a single year.

Wind power has much potential to be the renewable energy source for our future. UC Santa Cruz has led the way in creating sustainable wind power, most recently installing a microgrid wind farm on the Santa Cruz Wharf in June.

But that’s nothing compared to the budget Google can provide.

Wind power has received a bad reputation because of ecological concerns surrounding birds and alleged health problems. However, while the bird problem continues to confound scientists, despite some advances according to a 2012 Scientific American article, wind farms have been proved to have no major health concerns with regards to humans, according to two separate public health studies in the last year.

Consider it a win for the forward thinking corporate investors at Google, and the entrepreneurs who strive to be like them.

While Google will receive a tax incentive for investing in wind power, one should not focus on what they receive for the investment, but the gesture the investment sends.

In order to capitalize on Google’s investment spree, entrepreneurs and scientists must strive to make the wind turbine an urban innovation too. The Spinning Spur Wind Project sits outside Amarillo, Texas by some 40 miles — that type of power source could have major advantages if we could build it closer to a city or in one.

Since 2010, Google has placed $1 billion into differing renewable energy projects, Spinning Spur included. Google’s purchase announces that wind power can be a profit-making enterprise worthy of strong consideration for the next generation of Silicon Valley companies.

California entrepreneurs should rejoice about Google’s investment. Entrepreneurs and college students who possess that big idea to bring the wind farm to the urban farm may expect to find a strong backer in the tech giant.

A culture of strong ideas and easy funding surrounding wind power should make the renewable energy source proliferate at a much faster pace. At the very least, Google’s investment indicates the strong financial health of a burgeoning industry.

Or it could mean, that you’re next in line.