GOOGLE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED A NEARLY $100 MILLION investment in the Shepherds Flat wind project near Arlington, Ore., projected to be the world's largest, covering almost 30 square miles. Currently under development by GE Energy Financial Services and Caithness Energy, the wind farm will have the capacity to generate 845 megawatts of energy and supply 235,000 households when operations go online next year. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison, the development will be the first of its kind to employ “direct-drive turbines,” using large permanent magnets instead of standard gear box construction, to improve efficiency and reliability. “We're excited about helping deliver clean energy to the grid and hope this encourages other companies to think about ways they can help accelerate the deployment of more renewable energy,” said Rick Needham, director of green business operations at Google, in a company blog. Japan's Sumitomo and Tyr Energy are also co-partnering the $2 billion deal. In mid-April, Google also revealed a $186 million investment in the Ivanpah solar power plant in California's Mojave Desert. —Tanya Meyer
TO INCREASE ITS AD PRODUCTION AND COMPANY EXPOSURE IN A cost-effective manner, Web domain name registrar GoDaddy.com recently constructed its own 4,000 square-foot commercial studio. The complex will house “a big workshop for prop storage and set building; full hair, makeup and wardrobe suites; a green room; catering kitchen; post-production facility and design suite; editing suites; a 5.1 surround-sound audio room; and production offices,” said GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons. By cutting out middlemen production companies, Parsons said, GoDaddy will further reduce its already low costs and save from 40% to 80% on ads. According to Kantar Media, the company spent about $31.4 million on media time and space in 2010, whereas consumer advertiser Procter & Gamble spent almost $3.1 billion. With estimated production of eight to 10 ads a year that are shown up to 900 times a week, the move comes as GoDaddy.com looks to increase its global market presence in Asia, India, South Africa and South America. —Nathan Lipkin
INFLATABLE LAND AND WATER DISPLAYS ARE POPPING UP ALONG South American shorelines, thanks to an agreement between patent holder and global distributor bbi Display Systems and Chilean out-of-home marketing leader Grupo Big. The “amphibious” ads—exclusively represented in such countries as Argentina, Chile and Peru, through the deal—made their debut by Outdoor Media Group last month on Chile's Villarrica Lake with a 36-foot floating billboard for telecommunications company Entel. Movistar, a subsidiary of Spanish phone company Telefonica, also placed 24-by-14-foot floating signs in front of thousands of beachgoers in Salina, Ecuador. The airtight signs require no noisy blowers or electrical sources for persistent inflation. Setup and take-down times run less than 30 minutes, and the billboards fold into carry bags. bbi Display Systems' goal is to enable companies to advertise in virtually any location, which also commonly includes busy street corners, driving ranges and golf course lakes, parking lots and rooftops in more than 60 countries. —N.L.