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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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RE: Google's Intentions...
By armulyman on 2/20/2010 6:47:26 PM , Rating: 1
Everyone seems to hate Google, screaming "1984!", and "Google hates Republifags!"

Well look at it this way: Corporations are considered to be a person under the law, and by every definition, they are psychotic persons. The experience no guilt, the have no moral values, they have no sense of right and wrong, and they do whatever is pleasurable for them in that moment(they do anything they can to make as much money as quickly as possible.)

Google however is trying to break this tradition, and do the right things. They want to use clean energy, they're reducing the time in which they store private information, they DON'T censor unless they are forced to (And they're considering stopping that). When the Feds came through and asked for user search info, they were the ONLY search engine that resisted.

So they don't advertise guns? So what? That doesn't mean they're against the right to own a gun, it just means that they feel advertising them may promote violence.

I'll probably be rated down for this, but honestly, look at the facts and stop being paranoid. I for one feel blessed that we have such a corporation around. So many others do so many terrible things.

RE: Google's Intentions...
By cmdrdredd on 2/21/2010 8:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
So they don't advertise guns? So what? That doesn't mean they're against the right to own a gun, it just means that they feel advertising them may promote violence.

That's like saying advertising victoria's secret models will lead to young girls becoming bolemic.

Advertising something does not advocate ill effects from it. If it did, you couldn't advertise cars because you'd be promoting auto accidents *gasp*.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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