Search giant Google has a lot of datacentres that require a lot of energy to run, so you can see why Google would be keen to find cheaper ways of powering them. This, presumably, was why Google started looking into renewable energy, with the stated aim of creating renewable energy cheaper than coal.
Such is the way with this uninhibited company, however, that this project now seems to have taken-on a life of its own. At the start of the year it created a subsidiary called Google Energy and applied for it to be able to buy and sell energy like a utility company. Last Friday, that request was granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
It looks like Google has applied for this capability in case it should end up with surplus energy from its efforts to secure cheap energy from renewable sources for itself. However, Google didn't get where it has today by not capitalising on new market opportunities when it finds them.
Even allowing for its own vested interest, Google is to be commended for being pro-active about investing in renewable energy technologies. However, with Google already dabbling in such diverse markets as ISPs, operating systems and mobile advertising, this just adds to the unsettling feeling that Google is poking its nose into too many parts of our lives.
One stipulation in the regulatory filing is that permission to buy and sell power is conditional on Google not owning the means to generate or transmit power itself, so it will be interesting to see how Google gets around that. Probably by being a minority shareholder on power companies.