Thursday, April 22, 2010

Google Energy

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has authorized Google Energy to buy and sell electricity in bulk like any other utility.

Some back story

Google's escalating interest in energy
Prior to that obvious play, the company has been testing the energy industry waters through green energy technology investment, and research.

In 2007, Google pledged to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to help engineers and scientists figure out a way to generate 1 gigawatt of clean electricity and make it cheaper than coal.

In 2008, Google CEO Eric Schmidt presented an energy plan--complete with explicit math calculations--to back up an idea for how the U.S. could eventually get 100 percent of its electric power generation from renewable sources, cut emissions by half, create more jobs, and decrease overall energy costs.

Google has also invested hundred of millions in green energy technology research and start-up companies with projects in wind, solar, solar thermal, and geothermal. It has invested in projects to develop plug-in hybrid cars and has developed with its own "smart charging" software for plug-in electric vehicles.

The company has launched its own energy pilot projects including a 1.6-megawatt solar installation for its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, thought to be the largest corporate-owned installation in the U.S.

Google has even developed a smart metering software platform for monitoring and regulating home electricity use from any Web-enabled phone. Google Power has been testing the software in the U.K., as well as unveiling a U.S. version for smart phones.

Its most notable electricity investment success story might be eSolar, a start-up that grew out of the Google Idealab and offers "turnkey" thermal solar energy plants using software-controlled heliostats. The company has already garnered over 500 megawatts worth of projects for Southern California Edison and several utilities in the southwestern U.S., with projects in the pipeline for China, Spain, the Middle East, and South Africa.

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were also early investors in the electric car maker Tesla.


Source: CNET

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