The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) just gave Google the clearance to buy and sell energy in bulk. While it’s interesting to speculate if Google wants to sell energy to consumers, the company has already declared that it has no plans to sell energy to consumers or to speculate in energy markets. Instead, Google says that it wanted this authorization from FERC in order to manage its own energy supplies better.
Google puts a strong emphasis on making its data centers as energy efficient as possible. Google doesn’t release any data about its energy consumption, but according to some estimates, Google’s data center in The Dalles, OR could require as much as 103 megawatts of power to run once it is at full capacity – enough to power the city of Oakland, CA for four months. Getting FERC’s approval means that Google now has the ability to negotiate directly with energy producers, which will likely help the company to reduce it’s massive energy bills.
Earlier this month, Google granted $5.7 million to 12 university projects in the U.S. to fund research that will look into ways to reduce the energy consumption of large data centers.
Even though Google isn’t likely to start selling energy to consumers anytime soon, the company does offer one energy-related product to consumers: PowerMeter. This is a gadget the company offers for consumers whose power companies have already installed smart-meter technology. Google is also using solar panels to power it’s Mountain View, CA headquarters and has invested in a number of green energy projects and companies, including eSolar, a company that plans to develop numerous large solar energy projects around the world.