Google Electric Company is a popular concept, but most are missing energy storage as the strategy

I am having fun writing ideas on the GreenM3 blog.  There is so much going on now in the Green area and data centers, I can’t keep up with all the news. One of the latest news stories is Google filing with FERC for energy company status for Google Energy, creating a Google Electric company.

Google Energy


I’ve been watching the news to see if there is any particular insightful comments.  I wrote about the concept of Google Electric company in Nov 28, 2007.  Yes, 2 years ago.

Nov 28, 2007

Google Electric Company - Core Competency?

Larry Dignan on

Wrote a blog about the issue of Google getting into the energy business. This somehow seems like it is in Google's DNA when faced with make vs buy, they favor make.  They've done this with their OS and Servers they run their platform on.  Now, they are extending out to make their own electricity.

Google News does a good job of showing the various discussions.


I have a few friends who work at Google and it easy to run thought experiments of what is not being discussed.

Thought experiments are devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things. We need only list a few of the well-known thought experiments to be reminded of their enormous influence and importance in the sciences: Newton's bucket, Maxwell's demon, Einstein's elevator, Heisenberg's gamma-ray microscope, Schrödinger's cat. The same can be said for their importance in philosophy. Much of ethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind is based firmly on the results of thought experiments.

What I think Google has seen is energy storage from renewable energy sources – PV, Solar, and wind is essential.  I joked and questioned Google as an electric company 2 years ago, but a lot has happened in two years, and it makes sense from one point of view that Google' learn to store information as it stores information (indexing the web) and delivers higher value information when users need it.  To do this with electricity, Google needs to be able to buy and sell electricity.

As the largest consumer of data center electricity in the world, except for the US Fed Gov’t, Google is in a unique situation to use information to deliver higher value electricity. 

Also, Google Energy’s expertise as a power company will allow it to figure out how to lower its energy costs and carbon impact over the long run.  This is a not a new concept and has been used by industries like pulp and paper mills with their own power generation and water supplies.  Which fits in Google buying the pulp and paper mil in Finland.