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Google Energy gets OK

Can now wholesale and retail 'leccy in the US

Google has been granted a license to trade energy on the wholesale market, as well as retail it to the consumer market. The approval comes from the US Federal energy regulator FERC.

Google made the request quietly on the day before Christmas Eve, via its new subsidiary Google Energy. California's public utilities commission was an objector, but it's unclear on what grounds. To gain approval, Google had to assure the regulator it doesn't own or operate transmission or generation facilities. In fact, Google's gigantic datacenters are vast generators of power, with Google as the sole customer.

Google's reasons for trading energy Enron-style, or retailing it to homes or businesses remain obscure. A spokesperson put a Kumbaya-spin on the news last month, telling the Times that a license was needed to go green, and procure renewables.

Of course, Google doesn't need a trading license to do that. As we pointed out last month, it may simply be a cost-saving move: Wal-Mart has an energy trading license too. ®

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