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Google’s Search For Smart Grid Control?

08/12/2010

This week speculation turned to fear as Google and Verizon unveiled a proposed plan for internet regulation that, if implemented, will change internet access as we know it. Well, Google is out to control more than information flow, if Google’s PowerMeter product is successful, the company will also have more control over electricity flow.

Google is currently testing its PowerMeter product, which shows users how much electricity they are using in real-time, to a limited number of customers of San Diego Gas and Electric, Oncor and some electric cooperatives and municipal power companies across the country.

Google’s Policy Counsel, Harry Wingo explains that Google can bridge information flow between the generation unit, the substation, and the consumer.  “The electric utility does not know your lights are on. Persuading utilities and consumers that it’s a good to keep track of how much energy is being used and when it’s being used is key to promoting the smart grid.”

True, however, PowerMeter gives Google access to people’s electricity usage and allows Google to act as an information conduit to utilities, making the company a primary beneficiary of the Smart Grid.

There is more … Wingo also linked the smart meters to renewables, discussing how Google is moving into advanced geothermal energy. Google’s mapping capabilities are useful for deep earth maps needed for advanced geothermal exploration. “if we can figure out how to get drilling costs down, we can jump into geothermal energy.”

Information is power. Literally.

For More Information:

NY Times: Web Plan From Google and Verizon is Criticized

eWeek:  Google, Verizon Net Neutrality Plan Brings Anguished Accusations

GreenTechMedia: Google Opens PowerMeter As Console Wars Heat Up

Google’s Public Policy Blog

Google’s Geothermal Energy Map

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