A few hours ago Google Inc. announced that for the first time it is making a sizable investment in renewable power as a way to accelerate the deployment of the latest clean energy technology while providing attractive returns to the search engine giant. (Read about it here.)
Google’s $38.8 million investment in an incredible wind energy project in the North Dakota plains involves two wind farms owned by NextEra Energy Resources that generate 169.5 megawatts of energy, or enough to power more than 55,000 homes.
Not every company is investing locally. One trend we are noticing is that clean energy technology has globalized and innovation has followed suit.
One nation in particular continues to reap the benefits of this trend. Companies like GM, Dow and and Intel have constructed high-tech research labs in China. In fact the Chinese have 750 foreign-funded R&D centers in China—up from 50 just 13 years ago. Meanwhile the number of R&D sites in the United States dropped from 60 percent to 52 percent in the past decade.
You can read more about this phenomenon in a new Business Week article titled America’s Green Innovation Problem. The report does a good job explaining the numbers, and showing that as many companies are becoming truly global in their R&D, manufacturing and marketing, they’ve been collaborating even more with foreign companies and governments.