Google is investing $55 million in the Alta Wind Energy Center, one of the largest wind farms in the world, a move expected to help California reclaim its status as a leader in the industry. The Mojave Desert project may serve as a model for a state that once produced 90 percent of the world’s wind power. That number is now less than 2 percent. The search giant has already invested more than $300 million in other wind power initiatives and continues to expand its footprint outside of Internet technology. It’s always welcome news to see an American corporation invest in domestic renewable energy production, though sad to see how far behind we’ve fallen. — KDG

Los Angeles Times

California’s woes have been a magnified version of the troubles facing the national wind industry, analysts said.

Last year, the market was “in distress,” said Denise Bode, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Assn., the trade group that organized the Anaheim conference. The amount of generation capacity installed was half the amount of the year before. The U.S. trailed China in 2009, even though it was a record year, and was eclipsed again in 2010.

Things are still looking “pathetic,” said Jonathan Kim, a power and utilities analyst with Royal Bank of Scotland. Attempts by inexperienced real estate developers and farm owners to launch wind projects have failed by the thousands, he said.

“Sales are low, everyone’s stock is depressed, and we’re seeing a lot of people struggling,” Kim said. “It’s just not a good time for the sector.”

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