Google empowered to buy, sell energy (like your local utility)

If it seems that Google is trying to cover all the bases these days, this move definitely hits the mark. Fresh off from social-networking Buzz, it's just been granted clearance by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to buy and sell electricity in bulk, say, like any other power utility out there.

The order specially grants Google Energy, a subsidiary of Google, the rights "for the sale of energy, capacity, and ancillary services at market-based rates", so Google could have "more flexibility in procuring power for Google's own operations, including our data centers."

This isn't Google's first attempt to delve into power utilities, as they've previously launched Google PowerMeter, a software-based smart metering and energy management system a while back in October of 2009. It'll be interesting to see just how far Google wants to go, and what, if any effect these moves will have on the energy playing field as a whole.

[FERC via WSJ]