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Google announces step into power metering and elaborates on Green@Google at the CTO breakfast in Palo Alto

Google made an announcement this morning that they will soon launch a free website called PowerMeter that users can use to track power consumption in their homes and businesses. This requires an ecosystem of smart meter and grid technology companies, utility providers and regulatory bodies working together to tap data into the PowerMeter. Energy efficiency is a low hanging fruit in the fight against Global Climate Change and Energy Dependence issues.

According to, a Google spokesman Jamie Yood said that Google plans to release the “application programming interface” to allow outside developers to innovate. This could really drive further innovation in the move to energy efficiency and open up new markets for players in this space. The NY times also reported that “the stimulus bill now going to a House-Senate conference committee has allocated $4.4 billion for “smart” technologies, including four million of these next-generation monitors, called smart meters.” Google serves as an active advisor to the Obama administration and has contributed to the formulation of the new admistration’s green agenda. All good news

This discussion was part of the Clean Tech Open (CTO) ( breakfast series, which was launched today at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati offices. The room was packed with clean tech professionals, CTO alumnus and 2009 Open contendees.

The keynote speaker for the morning was Kevin Chen, Green Energy Strategist at Google. He shared a very interesting wholistic presentation looking at the total sustainability picture of Google. The four main areas involve: employees; buildings, datacenters, and grid. For example, where employees are concerned, he spoke about initiatives such as rewarding employees for riding a bike to work, offering organic food from local farms, using non-toxic materials for carpets, furniture,etc. Green buildings included putting up one of the largest solar panel installation of 9,212 Sharp PV modules for 1.6MW of energy. They also have solar carports for efficient use of space and places to charge plug in hybrids car.

What makes Google even more exciting is that they work on practicing what they preach and driving innovation so that the cost of renewable energy becomes less than that of fossil fuels. At their data centers for instance, Google using water evaporation techniques to reduce cooling power usage coupled with a good water reuse program. They also recyle, reuse or repurpose about 65% of their server materials. Google also has been working on locating datacenters close to energy sources (to avoid loss of energy in power transmission) and also using more Green energy to power them. Not to stop at that, Google actively participates in standards bodies and also helped create industry consortiums such as Climate Savers Computing ( ) to focus on transforming the industry by making the design and use of computers more energy efficient.

To ensure we meet the growing energy needs of the future at a cost less than fossil fuels, Google has major investments in cutting edge renewable energy companies. One such company is Makani for instance, which taps into high altitude wind (1,200 feet and higher) using kite technology. This is supposed to help create much more power than a traditional wind turbine can and with less intermittency. Google investments include: $10M in esolar (solar thermal), $10M in Brightsource (solar thermal), $10M in Makani (high altitude wind), $6.5M Altarock (geothermal), and $4M Potter Drilling . These and other exciting initiatives definitely makes Google ahead of the game and a  leader on the Green front. Google has also shown that it makes good business sense to go Green (they expect a 7-8 year ROI on their Green Buildings investments), after which much of their overall OPEX decreases significantly.

For more information about Green@Google, check out their website at



This article was posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 at 3:42 pm You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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