Thursday, October 8, 2009

Google's PowerMeter to boost energy efficiency

Los Angeles: Google is partnering with privately held firm Energy, to provide households with free energy management software called PowerMeter, which will boost energy efficiency, the company said on its blog.

Google had launched PowerMeter, which is a web tool, in February to let consumers monitor how much electricity they use at home. But in order to use PowerMeter consumers needed a smart meter installed. Many customers have already tested and used this application. Now, consumers can buy Energy's power-usage measuring device called TED 5000 which costs around $200, and use Google's software on top of it, without ever needing a smart meter. 

Even though many companies are now trying to propagate smart meters they still account for a small percentage of all U.S. electricity meters. Technology giants like Google and IBM are shifting into the world of building a smart grid, envisioning a more efficient electricity grid that uses more renewable energy and powers up 'smart' appliances.

Google's partnership with Energy does not include any financial terms. Google is already working with Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas and Electric and Germany's Yello Strom. Google is also trying to develop clean technology. Some of its projects include ways to write software to connect plug-in hybrid vehicles to the power grid and a mirror technology that could reduce the cost of building solar thermal plants by more than a quarter.