The Future of Energy: Google?

The Future of Energy: Google?

Michael Lowe
Published: 02/22/2010

 
Flickr: Creative Commons/Manfrys

On the heels of introducing its newest social networking function, Buzz, which enables users to know everything and anything about everyone, Google is taking the next step in total world domination: acquiring energy.

On Thursday, the tech giant received federal approval to buy and sell energy on the open market. The move and approval will allow Google to pick and choose the way its data centers are powered and may be the starting point for the company to get a foot in the energy-trading door.

“We made this filing so we can have more flexibility in procuring power for Google’s own operations, including our data centers,” a Google spokesperson told PC World 
Google’s data centers are located around the world and consume massive amounts of energy. Entering the energy market would secure steady and affordable energy to those facilities.

It sounds great for business, but what about the environment?
Google has long sought carbon neutrality and made moves to become carbon neutral by the end of the year in 2007. Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President of Operations at Google, wrote this on the Google Blog:

Climate change continues to be one of the biggest, most challenging problems our planet faces, and we know that a sustained global effort is needed if we're going to have any hope of reversing its effects. In that spirit, today we're announcing that Google will become carbon neutral by the end of 2007. This is an important step in our long-term pursuit of holistic environmental solutions.

Our plan to neutralize Google's carbon footprint includes three basic strategies:
- reduce energy consumption by maximizing efficiency;
- invest in and use renewable energy sources; and
- purchase carbon offsets for the emissions that we can't reduce directly.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) authorization of Google’s energy endeavors will help the company “hedge our purchases of energy and incorporate renewables into our energy portfolio,” said the spokesperson. With this federal go-ahead, Google sounds like it’s on the fast track to getting greener.

Google may be taking over the world, but at least it will be an environmentally sensitive world. I guess that makes me feel a little bit better.

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