Monday, February 23, 2009

Wonderful 3 G's: Google, GE and Green Energy

In a fear-filled 24-hour news cycle, it's necessary to break away from all that negativity and read about some positive news. As you know, there are some very smart people in our country doing some great things and we need to hear more about them...especially these days.

There are many green energy initiatives taking place. I recently read about a particularly interesting effort that I think you'll find interesting too. Did you know that Google is investing a lot of money - in the millions - to change the country’s energy infrastructure more into the likes of the Internet, making energy decentralized and distributed, and possibly saving you and I lots of money?

Partnered with GE in many green initiatives, the company envisions a smart electric grid that would be controlled and monitored by a vast computer network that would determine prices based on real-time supply and demand. If this happens, it will change the way that you and I use and pay for electricity.

For example: Suppose the hot and humid summer months in Georgia creates a spike in electricity usage, and therefore prices. Instead of automatically being hit with higher energy prices, you'll have a device with a user-friendly interface that allows you to click on an icon and power down several of your appliances. GE already has a smart-grid lab that's working out the details of such a scenario. Or how about having a wireless system in your home, car, etc., that would automatically shut down appliances and devices if prices hit certain preset levels? In addition to the above, there's hope that you'll be able to select your own energy plans that are more customized to your needs.

Google's motivation to reduce its energy costs is commendable. And after getting hit with some pretty high electric bills myself during the summer, I'll say I'm pretty giddy about such ideas. Maybe we can find ways to heal the planet and add a little more money in our wallets.