The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission has granted Google Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of the search giant, the right to behave like a utility.
The order grants Google Energy the power to sell energy, capacity and services at market rates.
Why does Google want to do this? Right now, the company rakes in billions of dollars from ads and it doesn’t have to have extensive support desks and remote repair teams — i.e., the kind of people power providers must have on staff — in order to do it. Selling power is a much more hands-on business.
Google has said it wants to go carbon neutral. With the FERC order, it can now effectively erect as many solar panels and install as many fuel cells as it likes without worrying about having purchased too much capacity; the company can now sell off the extra power it generates.