Government Clears the Way for Google to Play in Energy Markets

google powermeter in uk image

a Google power meter

Google is now officially in the energy business after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission yesterday cleared the way by granted a subsidiary of the search giant the authority to sell electricity on wholesale markets. The move paves the way for Google to operate as a sort of energy broker--buying power from providers and the selling it just like utilities do. Many are left to wonder now just how serious Google is about getting deep into the energy business.From EE News:

The FERC order allows Google Energy "market-based rate authority" to sell electricity at market prices similar to generation and utility companies. FERC granted the authority based on Google not owning or controlling wholesale generation or transmission facilities or not being active in the retail market, where customers may be "captive" or relying solely upon the company for electricity.

Google's decision to apply to become an electricity seller last month raised questions about its future in the utility business. Google also released a "PowerMeter" application to monitor home energy use last year and has invested significantly in renewable energy projects.

FERC's order grants Google Energy the rights "for the sale of energy, capacity, and ancillary services at market-based rates" but it also says that it cannot "own or control any generation or transmission" facilities.

Google is not alone as a non-utility or power producing company that deals in energy. Safeway and the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc. also do, but they don't use the massive amount of power that Google does nor do they market energy solutions like Smart meters as Google does.

Google appears to be serious about both cleaning up its own footprint and helping the nation clean up its massive pollution problem. In 2007, Google introduced its own plan to fight climate change and convert the nation to renewable energy. it called for 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and for half of vehicles to be plug in hybrids. Below is a video of Google CEO Eric Schmidt detailing the plan:

More on Google:
Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-Hours a Year : TreeHugger
Google to Tackle Global Warming : TreeHugger