The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has authorized Google Energy to buy and sell electricity in bulk like any other utility.

The FERC, the agency with oversight of the U.S. power grid, signed an order (PDF) on Thursday that grants Google Energy market-based rate authorization. This paves the way for the search giant to not only better manage its own energy costs, but to possibly add electricity marketer to its repertoire of services.

The order specifically grants Google Energy--a subsidiary of Google--the rights "for the sale of energy, capacity, and ancillary services at market-based rates" while acknowledging that neither Google Energy nor its affiliates "own or control any generation or transmission" facilities.

Google has expressed a desire for access to larger amounts of renewable energy to help produce the electricity it consumes as part of its vast search-engine empire. Google has long maintained that its goal is to become a carbon-neutral company. As a side note, it's not unusual for large companies to be granted the authority to trade in the wholesale electricity market for the purpose of managing their own energy costs.

Full story: c|net