Google Inc., the Web company that a decade ago used engineering prowess to conquer the nascent online advertising market, is aiming at another fledgling industry: offshore wind farming.
The company said this week that it's investing in a $5 billion underwater network that can channel electricity from wind turbines off the Atlantic coast, enough to light up 1.9 million homes from New York to Virginia.
Google is betting its support will encourage other investors to back wind farming, which the Global Wind Energy Council says will generate more than 22 percent of the world's electricity in two decades. Google will buy a 37.5 percent stake in the development stage of the Atlantic Wind Connection project.
The investment also may help the United States narrow a lead held by China, which is installing more than twice the wind-generating power of the United States.
The first phase of the project, which developers aim to complete by early 2016, would run about 150 miles and cost $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion, Google said. The second phase to complete the 350-mile line could be finished by 2020.