Google pursues raw power

Google wants to be bigger player in the power business, buying and selling electricity.

One of Google's subsidiaries wants to get in the power business. We're not talking politics or even economic power, it's electricity they want to buy and sell. There are other non-utilities already in the power business. Usually other firms with similar heavy power needs. And Google must power all those servers and computers and air conditioners.

The Google Energy subsidiary was formed in late 2009 and this CNET report explains how it fits into Google's corporate plans. It seems likely Google Energy will get its federal permit to buy and trade electricity, putting it into a stronger position to balance Google's energy needs with its goal to promote the use of alternative energy for electricity generation. Google has indicated it will shop for the best sources of renewable energy to run its operations. The company's stated goal is to become carbon-neutral.

Google has investments already in renewable energy firms via google.org. Here you can find a list of the grants and investments Google has made in alternative energy and cleantech via its philanthropy unit. Some quick addition shows about $40-million has gone into cleantech enterprises and organizations so far. Google also has made considerable investment in global health, education and other areas of philanthropic endeavor.

One of the offices at Googleplex. Photo courtesy CNET. Here's CNET"s full photo gallery of Googleplex.

Google's interest in cleantech and alternative energy is not something new. Over 3 years ago the company began working toward a greener profile. Here's a recent inside look from Google: the greentech at their headquarters campus in Silicon Valley. On the website they call it the "Googleplex." One factoid: they have over 9200 solar panels on the roofs of their campus in Mountain View which is in a sunny climate with little fog and only seasonal rains.

Here Google has a scorecard on how much electricity their solar panels produce. [poll id="214"]