Google seeks FERC approval to trade wholesale electricity – UPDATED

Google Inc has asked the main U.S. energy regulator for authority to buy and sell electricity in the wholesale market to help manage its huge energy needs, as the Internet giant’s big data centers soak up large amounts of power.

In its filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in late December, the company said its Google Energy LLC subsidiary wants the authority “to contain and manage the cost of energy for Google.”

Other companies that consume a lot of electricity have been given similar authority by FERC to help control their energy costs.

It’s routine,” an agency spokeswoman said on Friday of Google’s application.

FERC lists on its website about 1,500 companies that have subsidiaries with the same market-based rate authority, including Alcoa, the Safeway grocery store chain and Walmart…

Rapid growth in the U.S. data center industry is projected to require two new large power plants per year just to keep pace with the expected demand growth, the department says.

The 500-lb gorilla now has electric shoes.

UPDATE: Permission granted.

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