The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has passed an order granting Google Energy market-based rate authorisation, i.e. the ability to buy and sell energy. We reported on the application back in January.
The order says that; “Google Energy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google, Inc. (Google), a technology company focused on web-based services. Google Energy states that it was formed to identify and develop opportunities to contain and manage the cost of energy for Google. Google Energy states that it intends to act as a power marketer, purchasing electricity and reselling it to wholesale customers”.
So this is not a move into the energy market, but a route to allow the company to better manage its energy costs, which are clearly significant, given the data centres it runs.
The idea is that as a wholesale player it can buy energy more cheaply, but the move is also seen as a route to buying more energy from renewable sources than would otherwise be possible. Google plans to make it’s data centres carbon neutral and using renewable energy will be a significant factor.