Although the internet company has invested in early-stage green technology companies for some time, this is its first investment in a utility-scale wind project.

The two wind farms generate 170 MW of electricity, sufficient power for 55,000 homes.

The wind farms were developed by NextEra Energy Resources and harness power from one of the world’s richest wind resources in the North Dakota plains. There are 113 wind turbines on the facilities.

“To reach a clean energy future, we need three things: effective policy, innovative technology and smart capital,” says Rick Needham, the company’s Green Business Operations Manager on the Google blog.

“To tackle this need, we’ve been looking at investments in renewable energy projects, like the one we just signed, that can accelerate the deployment of the latest clean energy technology while providing attractive returns to Google and more capital for developers to build additional projects.”

Google has also invested in solar and geothermal

Google’s philanthropic division, Google.org, has previously invested in solar thermal companies eSolar and BrightSource, geothermal company AltaRock, and wind company Makani. It also has a side project to develop solar thermal receivers.

Last year, Google applied for a license to trade energy and renewable credits. In February, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved its application to buy and sell electricity on federally-regulated wholesale markets and Google has its energy management software tool PowerMeter.

In 2004, when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote to prospective shareholders about their vision, they outlined a commitment to contribute 1% of equity and profits to address global problems.

Today, Google.org builds technology products to address global challenges such as climate change, pandemic disease and poverty.

Since its inception, Google.org has committed US$100 million in grants to non-profits and investments in companies with breakthrough technologies.