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Google yesterday gained federal authority to buy and sell power in the U.S., granting it essentially the same status as a power utility. Google's headquarters is seen here blanketed in solar panels.  (Source: Goozner Solar)

Google could eventually use the approval to sell renewable energy directly to U.S. consumers.  (Source: Wind Revolution)
Traditional power utilities have a new competitor

The world of power utilities in the U.S. is a story of old business.  The corporate landscape is almost as stale as America's power grid -- there's little fresh blood.  

That could soon change.  Adding to the shakeup that began earlier this week with President Obama's decision to back new U.S. nuclear construction with guaranteed loan funding, Google yesterday received approval [PDF] by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to become an open market seller and buyer of energy.

While the decision of Google to enter the power business may seem a strange one, it actually makes sense.  The search business (as well as Google's numerous other services) require vast farms of servers to power billions of requests worldwide.  These data centers using a tremendous amount of power.  Thus it's in Google's best interest to try to ensure reliable, affordable power.

Google also will look to use its newfound abilities to make good on its motto "do no evil" by adopting power from renewable sources.  Thanks to the approval, the company can now directly buy power from renewable energy installation, rather than having to purchase it second-hand through a utility.

The company, which has invested in numerous alternative energy projects of its own, could even enter the power production business eventually.  In its application Google requested the authority to "act as a power marketer, purchasing electricity and reselling it to wholesale customers."

In the short term, Google has "no plans" to sell power according to Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick, speaking to 
The Wall Street Journal last month.  She states in a recent email, "We made this filing so we can have more flexibility in procuring power for Google's own operations, including our data centers.  FERC authority will improve our ability to hedge our purchases of energy and incorporate renewables into our energy portfolio."

The company's foremost objective is carbon neutrality -- emitting no more carbon than it takes in.  Google has already employed diverse means to achieve this goal.  It has used goats to mow the lawns of its California facilities and has invested in unusual sources of alternative energy, such as deep geothermal and high energy wind power.

Google currently has no wholesale electrical generation or transmission facilities according to its filing.

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Google to do more evil...
By TheEinstein on 2/19/2010 2:40:18 PM , Rating: 1
No one here seems to understand... Google IS evil.

1) They will not show ads for guns, period, nor will you find their spiders on very many gun sites.

2) They down-rate pages of the opposition party to their party. Yes they ascribe entirely to one political party. Guess which.

3) They censor in China and other nations of course...

4) They use their huge data files on your searches to tailor information presented to you in a 1984 style.. you never see it, you never feel it, but it IS happening.

RE: Google to do more evil...
By geddarkstorm on 2/19/2010 2:52:50 PM , Rating: 4
Then use another search engine.

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/19/2010 3:19:22 PM , Rating: 2
They use it extensively in Gmail. Anything you discuss in your emails they present ads for in the right hand column. It is fun to email some crazy stuff and watch it try to post the right ads for your conversation.

RE: Google to do more evil...
By armulyman on 2/20/2010 6:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
3) They censor in China and other nations of course...

HOLY CRAP, really?! Do you read the freaking news Einstein? Do you have any idea WHY they censor in China? Have you NOT been hearing that they are talking about pulling out of China because they don't like being forced to censor?!

Genius....! Pure uninformed genius!

RE: Google to do more evil...
By foolsgambit11 on 2/20/2010 6:42:24 PM , Rating: 5
Point by point:

1. I just did a search for "Colt .45" and got sidebar ads for retailers of guns.

2. Evidence?

3. They abided by the law in China. Granted, they could have just chosen not to do business there. But this doesn't make them evil, it makes them capitalists. Google entering China's search market didn't make things worse for the Chinese - they weren't getting the censored search results as it was. Maybe they weren't being good, but they weren't being evil, either.

4. They provide tailored search results (not by individual, but by general statistics) in an attempt to better serve you, and you equate this to neo-fascism. Again, you don't base anything on facts or data, you just accuse. Perhaps they could do evil things with all the data they collect, but there's no evidence they currently are.

I'm not saying that Google is good. I'm just saying that you're going to need some better ammunition. Their motto is "Don't Be Evil", it's not "Be Good". There is a distinction.

RE: Google to do more evil...
By rlandess on 2/21/2010 1:52:48 AM , Rating: 2
No one here seems to understand... Google IS evil.

No, You don't understand. No one wants to hear the self-important whining of an imbecile. Too many people lately complain about how no one understands what they are talking about. If feel badly that you're the only one who knows the Truth, maybe you should step back and reconsider your position. This forum is usually filled with above average intellects, if the general consensus in the forum is disparate with your opinion maybe you're defective. Maybe you should find a forum that appreciates unsubstantiated, overly emotional hearsay.

I'd love to rate you down, but it's your kind of insane delusional ranting that illuminates for the masses what's going wrong with the world. So everyone should read it.

Every forum doesn't have to be diverted to being your outlet for list of paranoid grievances about conspiracy.

Wingnuts right and left, pull your heads out of your asses and take a deep breath. We don't live in a Orwell novel, more an Aldous Huxley novel, or a Mike Judge movie. People have free will. If you don't like being spied on, don't leave your house or converse with anyone, ever. What you do in you own home is still your own business so you still have it pretty good.

Who cares about Google storing search information. Their not stealing it, you give it to them. It's your choice, if Google has a file on you it's your fault.

RE: Google to do more evil...
By MadMan007 on 2/21/2010 5:59:53 PM , Rating: 1
I don't understand what you're talking about.

RE: Google to do more evil...
By callmeroy on 2/22/2010 8:59:46 AM , Rating: 2

1) They don't show ads for guns...oh no I'm offended a public company has their own policy that they don't wish to run ads for something they don't believe in. Nothing illegal about that. Nothing wrong with that. If I opened a business tomorrow and my policy was "We will not run ads for pornography sites or products"...its the same deal, my right as the business owner.

2) You got me there -- sounds like you spend WAY more time and energy using the search engine and scouring political forums than I do (meaning I don't - I have other things to worry about during my free time). That all sad..I would be curious of the proof you have of this practice.

3) Whoopidy doo dah....

4) 1984 style - you mean there's another "style" to harvesting and collecting data based on searches and information like email that the user agrees to when they sign up for the account in the first place? Tell me WTF do you think these search companies do? Yahoo. Bing. Google. They all do this that's the business model. That's how it works, how do you think the searches are created for accuracy. How do you think they make money - you think the advertisers they pick are just random?

Anyone who uses FREE on-line applications, like web based email, or search engines and then are surprised that certain demographic data is being collected -- that just friggin amazes me.

NOTHING is truly free.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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