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Google Applies to Become Power Trader

by John Letzing
MarketWatch, January 7, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Inc. has applied with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to buy and sell power in bulk, in a move that could help the Internet giant better meet its daunting electricity needs.

Google applied last month through its Google Energy LLC subsidiary for market-based rate authority, under which it could "engage in wholesale electric power and energy transactions as a marketer," according to public documents.

"In addition to engaging in sales of electricity that are unregulated by the commission, applicant proposes to act as a power marketer, purchasing electricity and reselling it to wholesale customers," the Google subsidiary said in its application.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal citing a Google spokeswoman, the company believes its FERC applications could help it better manage its energy supply, and gain greater access to renewable energy sources.

Google operates an undisclosed number of data centers, which consume large quantities of energy in order to power its Internet services such as search, video and email. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has long touted renewable energy, both for the greater good and to meet the demands of his company's data centers.

An application such as Google's with FERC is unusual for technology companies, however, according to the report.

While most companies with the status of energy marketers are utilities or power generators, according to the report, a few other types of businesses with high electricity needs also have FERC approval.

John Letzing is a MarketWatch reporter based in San Francisco.
Google Applies to Become Power Trader
MarketWatch, January 7, 2010

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