Search giant Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is acquiring Makani Power, the maker of airborne wind turbines. The turbines are tethered wings that generate power by flying in large circles, which the company says eliminates 90% of the material needed in conventional wind turbines. That allows the turbines to access wind at higher altitudes and above deep waters offshore, areas that are currently underutilized.

Makani said the timing was excellent, as the company just completed its first autonomous all-modes flight with its Wing 7 prototype. The company will be rolled into Google[x], the search giant's highly secretive lab that dreams up "moonshot" ideas, such as Glass or self-driving cars.

Airborne wind power has some considerable environmental benefits, and Google will be able to better fund Makani's future endeavors.

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