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Google has no concrete plans to buy and sell power now

Google is the largest search company in the business and it generates massive revenue from its ad sales. The company also runs multiple data centers that consume huge amounts of electricity, however, it has a corporate goal of being carbon neutral.

One way it looks to meet this goal is by buying and using carbon credits. The company also has a massive solar power station producing 1.6-megawatts at its corporate headquarters. The problem for Google is being able to get enough green power in the areas where it operates to meet the needs of its data centers and other operations.

Google's Niki Fenwick said, "Right now, we can't buy affordable, utility-scale, renewable energy in our markets. We want to buy the highest quality, most affordable renewable energy wherever we can and use the green credits."

Google has created a new subsidiary called Google Energy and has filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to be able to buy and sell electricity on the wholesale market. The Google Energy subsidiary was formed on December 16, 2009 reports CNET. The ability to buy and sell wholesale energy will give Google the capability of purchasing much larger amounts of renewable energy to offset the power it uses across its operations.

Fenwick said, "We don't have any concrete plans [for buying and selling energy]. We want the ability to buy and sell electricity in case it becomes part of our portfolio."

Google is already active in green projects and funds some projects through its arm. is the arm of the search giant that developed and sought partners for the new PowerMeter smart meters that will save electricity and money for homeowners. CNET cites experts saying that for a company outside of the electricity industry to buy and sell electricity is a highly unusual move.

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RE needs more development
By GruntboyX on 1/7/2010 12:16:56 PM , Rating: 2
Shows the limitations of Renewable energy. Basically Google will buy tons of Renewable Energy in on location of the country, but use common power in others and claim to be carbon neutral. Its fuzzy but correct math.

I guess it shows the need for more development in Renewable Technologies. It appears the Renewable Technologies are only useful in particular regions of the country.

RE: RE needs more development
By guffwd13 on 1/7/2010 12:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
to sell renewable energy is to be carbon negative.

sell tons of renewable = carbon negative.
use tons of common = carbon positive.

negative plus positive = carbon zero.

i don't see how this is fuzzy math - its exactly what carbon neutral means.

RE: RE needs more development
By GruntboyX on 1/7/2010 12:52:51 PM , Rating: 2
i acknowledged that. By saying Its fuzzy but correct math.

My point is that you cant consume renewable energy anywhere you choose

RE: RE needs more development
By JosephMcD on 1/7/2010 12:57:04 PM , Rating: 3
This is exactly what the country as a whole needs to start doing. It's not feasible to put wind/solar everywhere as many sites will generate a lot more power than others. To maximize energy generation for each dollar put in it definitely makes sense to have Wind where it's windy, solar where it's sunny, and then use that power to offset the energy consumption that isn't so carbon friendly elsewhere.

Of course, ideally we'd be able to generate power further away and still use it but I think most would agree that the utility infrastructure in the States isn't really up for that...that will probably have to change someday.

RE: RE needs more development
By grath on 1/7/2010 4:07:43 PM , Rating: 4
Indeed. Lack of developed technology is not the problem, its the transmission and distribution grids that lack the capacity and sophistication to make that renewable energy properly fungible over long distances. An "offset on paper" is a start, and a workaround, but it will take a 21st-century grid to make efficient use and increase the coverage area of such varied and distributed renewable resources.

RE: RE needs more development
By meepstone on 1/8/2010 5:48:36 AM , Rating: 2
So what your saying is... we put solar power in Seatle. Got it.

RE: RE needs more development
By mfed3 on 1/8/2010 2:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
haha cloudiest place in the us. yes lets do it

RE: RE needs more development
By CENGJINYIWEI on 1/31/10, Rating: -1
RE: RE needs more development
By apcguru on 1/7/2010 6:50:23 PM , Rating: 3
"to sell renewable energy is to be carbon negative"

Well that is not the entire truth. To be carbon negative you need to store carbon from the atmosphere in some stable form. Wind, wave or solar power can not do this easily. Growing forests can do it, but then again your not producing energy if you don't cut down the trees.

So what we're really looking at with renewable energy is carbon neutral energy production.

The sheer stupidity....
By azcoyote on 1/8/2010 10:34:22 AM , Rating: 2
This carbon credit craze is soooo freaking ridiculous....
Try this people....

Pick 10 Companies.
Chart out how much carbon they are producing.
Got your numbers?

OK, now let them do their carbon credit thing.
Now go back and chart how much carbon they are producing.
What? The numbers didn't change?

That's right folks. Carbon credits are just another game of 3 card Monty. They toss around the cards with slight of hand to give the allusion we could all win. The reality is that while that number shuffling looks good on paper, the amounts of carbon being produced changed absolutely ZERO.

Don't believe the hype.....

RE: The sheer stupidity....
By daemonios on 1/8/2010 12:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
Do you actually know how credits work?

Credits are issued for companies which *do* reduce emissions, either in absolute terms or, in some cases, with reference to a business-as-usual scenario. So:

- Companies A and B both emit 1000 tons CO2
- Law, marketing or social pressure mandate reduction to 500 tons
- Company A may reduce at a marginal cost of $10/ton
- Company B's marginal cost for reduction is $50/ton

What happens? Company A will reduce to 0 kg at a cost of $ 10,000. Half of this was for compliance purposes, the other half is a "surplus" reduction. It'll then sell credits representing the surplus to Company B for, say, $45/ton ($13,500 total).

Company A profits those $13,500, company B profits $11,500 (the difference between the cost of credits and its total cost for reduction of 500 tons CO2). In aggregate there's a reduction of 1,000 tons in the two-company economy.

These are the very basics, but I assure you that the purpose of the system is to have *actual reductions*. The biggest problem is not one of design, but making sure that credits are properly issued, i.e. represent such reductions.

Your 10 companies are actually all in the "B" category, i.e. buyers of credits. Others are sellers. But someone, somewhere (not necessarily the credit buyers) will have reduced emissions.

RE: The sheer stupidity....
By daemonios on 1/8/2010 1:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
Goofed up the numbers there, B's cost credits is $ 22,500, savings is $ 2,500.

RE: The sheer stupidity....
By azcoyote on 1/8/2010 4:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. A regulation is set. Company A complies. Company B buys credits from Company A and essentially does not have to comply at all.

I'll put it into terms you may understand better...

If I were to lower my daily caloric consumption by half and thus produce half as much feces, then sell YOU a feces credit, would you be thinner and producing less sh*t or would you still be the same size and producing the same amount?

Setting a regulation and allowing companies to sell the "surplus" that exists between actual waste production and the regulation cutoff is absurd. If you land under the reg then good for you. But what YOU do should not be allowed to excuse the actions a second company by allowing you to sell that phantom value.

The reality is that company A paid their admission then licked its stamped hand and rubbed it on company B's to get them into the club for free.

Free Electricity, with a Catch
By jbwhite99 on 1/7/2010 12:45:42 PM , Rating: 5
I can see it now - you plug in your appliance to the outlet with free GooglePower (TM) - and on a little screen next to the outlet, up pop some ads.

If you plug in a toaster, sponsored ads for bread come up.
If you plug in a TV, ads from ESPN/NBC come up.

Brilliant idea, Google! I can see it now - free 'lectricity, subsidized by ads!

By corduroygt on 1/7/2010 4:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
You'd have to watch a sh1t ton of ads just to keep warm in the winter though :)

I think that ther motivation is different
By wookie1 on 1/7/2010 1:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
If Google can become an electricity generator, they can get all that federal subsidy money and also sell energy to themselves at wholesale. Wholesale prices + tons of taxpayer subsidy = renewable energy at probably only marginally more cost than buying conventional energy at retail rates.

So, with all of our help, they can claim their green credentials (and point out how evil their competition is releasing all of that "harmful" carbon) and put their non-subsidized competitors at a disadvantage.

By Laereom on 1/8/2010 11:58:30 AM , Rating: 2
As much as I want to love Google and would like to think they wouldn't engage in that sort of behavior, well...they ARE from California.

By nemoshotyany on 1/7/2010 2:49:17 PM , Rating: 2
Sign me up!

By MartinHimself on 1/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Enron?
By Spuke on 1/7/2010 12:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
How is this even remotely related to Enron?

RE: Enron?
By Cygni on 1/7/2010 12:14:31 PM , Rating: 3

RE: Enron?
By intelpatriot on 1/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Enron?
By Iaiken on 1/7/2010 2:13:29 PM , Rating: 3
You mean it wasn't because they were selling electricity into Nevada to short-supply California so they could sell electricity from Nevada into California at an exorbitant rate?

I've no idea why government regulation would be needed in a situation like that... nope... not at all... :P

I'm responsible for the design and development of the energy purchasing systems for the largest retailer in North America. Our business segments include numerous jurisdictions where Enron formerly did business and we've several books of customer contracts that were obtained from the Enron bankruptcy. As such, I am intimately familiar with all of the regulations regarding the trade of electricity and natural in each of the states/provinces in which we operate.

What happened to Enron was criminal only because the people made criminal decisions to actively engage in breaking the law in order to derive profit, hide losses and to artificially inflate the value of Enron stock and by extension their own net worths.

If you don't know what you are talking about, shut your face.

RE: Enron?
By 67STANG on 1/7/2010 2:44:51 PM , Rating: 2
And they probably wouldn't have gotten caught if their exporting of electricity out of California, hadn't contributed directly to the state's power shortage during that period.

RE: Enron?
By lco45 on 1/7/2010 7:58:56 PM , Rating: 3
I never thought I'd hear the words "Enron" and "altruistic" in the same sentence.

What planet are you from? Enron crawled so far up their own ass in the most spectacular spiral of greed and lawlessness it sent shockwaves of disbelief around the world.

How did you miss that?


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