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Google asks for govt permission to buy and sell electricity

Internet giant Google has asked for government authorisation to buy and sell electricity in the United States, in a move seen as an expansion of its operations in renewable energy.

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AFP - Internet search giant Google is seeking government authority to buy and sell electricity in the United States, a further expansion of its operations aimed at boosting renewable energy.

In a document filed last month with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and obtained by AFP, Google indicated that its Google Energy unit asked for "market-based rate authority."

Under that authority, "Google Energy will engage in wholesale electric power and energy transactions as a marketer," the filing said.

The move marked an additional step by the California-based Internet giant to reduce its carbon footprint.

Google announced in 2007 that it would invest in renewable energy. It has already launched a free software, PowerMeter, that allows individuals and businesses to monitor their energy consumption.

The company in mid-December pledged on its blog "Going green at Google" that it was going to make its operations carbon-neutral and reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Niki Fenwick, a Google spokeswoman, told specialist website CNET that the company wanted to become a player on the power grid.

"Right now, we can't buy affordable, utility-scale, renewable energy in our markets," Fenwick said.

"We want to buy the highest quality, most affordable renewable energy wherever we can and use the green credits," she said.

"We don't have any concrete plans. We want the ability to buy and sell electricity in case it becomes part of our portfolio."

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