From the Blogosphere
Google Gives Power to the People
New ‘PowerMeter’ Sparks Excitement at the NGU Europe Summit
By: John Funnell
Jul. 27, 2009 09:30 AM
It is not very often the words ‘Google’ and ‘energy-saving’ appear in the same sentence. However, in Portugal last week at the industry-leading Next Generation Utilities Summit, over 50 European Utility leaders were presented with the company’s new venture; Google’s ‘PowerMeter’.
Utilities, Power, and Energy have the potential to change the way the world operates in today’s environment. Saving money and reducig global energy usage is a familiar occurrence in the media, but there is not enough accessible information for the consumer on where to start. Posted paper bills are made up of complicated figures which give little information on energy consumption and how to save power. Google’s Jens Redmer, Director of Business Development for Europe discussed at the summit of a way to help the consumer in making the right decisions on their energy usage.
Google’s ‘PowerMeter’ provides customers with data on their personal electricity usage right on their own iGoogle homepage. It does this by receiving information from smart meters and energy management devices, calculating a customer’s energy consumption, and allowing each individual the ability to see what, in their homes, wastes the most energy.
Currently Google are testing the tool in the US, India & Canada, with the hopes of expanding later in the year. Not surprisingly, the NGU summit was the perfect place to introduce it to the European market. Redmer’s presentation sparked the interest of utility heads including João Torres, President of EDP Distribuição, Frank Borchardt, Head of Smart Metering at E.ON, Corne Meeuwis, CEO of CASC-CWE, Odd Håkon Holsæter, Chairmanof Nordpool and CEO of Statnett Norway, and Inge Pierre, Head of European Affairs at Svenskenergi. The innovative product was a mere catalyst for this esteemed group to discuss new ways to develop global energy supply with technology leaders from Siemens, Oracle, Alcatel – Lucent, SAP and Navita.
Many different companies will need to work together in order create a “path to smarter power”. Platforms like the NGU Summit need to become available to the industry’s figureheads for discussions and collaborations to occur more frequently. Already, Utility heads are booking their travel arrangements for the next NGU Summit in Europe, which is due to occur next February.
It is not very often that influential companies like Google take the time to develop innovative tools with the ability to aid in the reduction of energy waste. Having said this, it is clear technological applications like ‘PowerMeter’ are just the beginning and alone will not solve the energy saving issues that surround us.
But can Google’s’ initial contribution be the first step needed to move forward, before it’s too late?
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