Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Google Taking a Step Into Power Metering (GOOG)

From the New York Times:
Google will announce its entry Tuesday into the small but growing business of “smart grid,” digital technologies that seek to both keep the electrical system on an even keel and reduce electrical energy consumption.

Google is one of a number of companies devising ways to control the demand for electric power as an alternative to building more power plants. The company has developed a free Web service called PowerMeter that consumers can use to track energy use in their house or business as it is consumed.

Google is counting on others to build devices to feed data into PowerMeter technology. While it hopes to begin introducing the service in the next few months, it has not yet lined up hardware manufacturers....MORE

From the San Jose Mercury News:

Hoping to reduce household energy waste, Google today will unveil free software to provide consumers with real-time data on electricity use.

Currently, consumers get a utility bill once a month that says how much power they've used and how much it costs. Michael Terrell, an energy program manager with Google.org, hopes real-time information about household energy consumption will lead to the so-called Prius Effect.

A dashboard monitor on that hybrid vehicle reveals how driving styles affect fuel economy, and that information prompts people to drive in ways that improve mileage. Terrell said studies show that home-energy-use information changes behavior and saves 5 to 15 percent of electricity.

For a U.S. household with a typical $1,200-a-year electricity bill, that would mean saving $60 to $180 while reducing greenhouse gases. The overall savings could be huge, given that households consume an estimated 21 percent of the energy used in the United States.

The Google PowerMeter will work on an iGoogle home page when it becomes available to the public sometime later this year....MORE