Google buys Alameda Point wind company

Google buys Alameda Point wind company

Michele Ellson

Makani Power’s Wing 7 in flight. Video from Makani power’s website.

Alameda Point wind power firm Makani Power has been acquired by Google, the company has announced. The acquisition was announced on May 23.

“This formalizes a long and productive relationship between our two companies, and will provide Makani with the resources to accelerate our work to make wind energy cost competitive with fossil fuels,” the company announced on its website.

The sale price for the company has not been disclosed.

Google has invested millions of dollars in green energy, and the South Bay search giant was an early investor in Makani Power, reportedly providing $10 million in startup funding to help launch the wind power company in 2006 and an additional $5 million after that. Makani has also received funding from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Makani builds airborne wind turbines – strung like kites – to harvest wind energy from high in the air, where winds are stronger and more consistent than those harvested by more traditional, ground-based windmills. Earlier this month the company launched the Wing 7, which can reach heights of 1,500 feet.

The company will be folded into Google[x], the lab that’s developing “moon shot” products like the Web-enabled Google Glass specs and a driverless car. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the company would stay in its former control tower at Alameda Point or move into Google[x]’s labs.

“We've loved our spot there – whether we stay or not will be determined as we figure out the next steps for the team and the technology,” Makani communications director Andrea Dunlap said in response to an e-mail from a reporter.

The acquisition follows the October 2012 death of Makani co-founder and chief executive officer Corwin Hardham. The Alameda County Coroner’s Office determined Hardham’s cause of death to be cardiac insufficiency, Makani’s website says.


Submitted by chrisb on Fri, May 31, 2013

How does the acquisition "follow" Corwins untimely passing? Google didn't buy Makani because Corwin died, and nor is is chronologically relevant.