Google gives $2.65 million to energy grant organization

Google gives $2.65 million to energy grant organization

Summary: The Internet giant seeks to influence revisions to regulations and policies written for "last century's grid."

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

Just days after its last wind energy investment, Google has donated $2.65 million to an organization that it believes will encourage "policy reforms that will lead to more intelligent energy use."

The grant to the Energy Foundation will support its own "grantmaker" efforts in three areas:

  • Developing "smarter electricity rates" that encourage both energy efficiency and on-site energy generation
  • The creation of better demand generation programs, which compensate consumers and businesses for reducing energy consumption at certain time
  • "Open data" policies that let customers see their energy data in more detail, which will help with energy management

Michael Terrell, senior policy counsel, energy and sustainability for Google, writes in the company's official blog:

"What if instead of a monthly bill we had access to more real-time and actionable information about our electricity consumption? What if our appliances, air conditioners, and lights adjusted automatically to use energy more efficiently and save money? If we did this in every home it would help improve the reliability of the grid and save billions of dollars."

Google's investment targets "rules governing electricity distribution that were written for last century’s grid." The Energy Foundation describes its mission as one that promotes as "sustainable energy future by advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy." Other backers of the non-profit include the high-profile charitable organizations started by both founders of Hewlett-Packard as well as the Schmidt Family Foundation created in 2006 by Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt.

Although Google retired its own PowerMeter energy management project about 18 months ago because of weak consumption adoption, it has emerged as one of the most progressive companies when it comes to renewable energy. Since 2010, it has backed projects representing about 2 gigawatts in clean energy policy.

Aside from the Energy Foundation, Google is also aligned with the Alliance to Save Energy (Terrell is council to the group), which champions the cause of energy efficiency.

Topic: Emerging Tech

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  • More

    How about more money Google ? After all, you are making your money using everybody elses content.
    • Not quite

      Providing links through a search engine is not the same thing as using their content. Let me guess, you support the European papers who think Google should pay them for providing links to their articles and thereby generating traffic to their sites.
    • Google and Whooping Cranes

      Google has put up wind farms along the migration route of the critically endangered whooping crane. In recent years over 200 have gone missing and their population has been declining. . After decades of increasing in numbers the Aransas -Wood Buffalo crane population has been declining. Based on the steady increases in population prior to 2006, the current 2013 whooping crane population should be at least 350. Sadly it is not even close. The decline of the whooping cranes correlates with the explosion of wind turbines put along their migration route in recent years. In an effort to conceal this decline, last year after the USFWS counted only 192 from the air, they changed their survey methodology so their true numbers could be exaggerated.
  • Google -- our saviour

    Gimme a break.

    This corporation needs to stop meddling in politics and foreign business sectors, and stop trying to cast its self as the saviour of humanity.
    Tim Acheson
    • Of course!

      No one should ever, ever try to do something they think is the right thing to do if you know better.
    • "Do no evil."

      After all, it's their mantra. Right?
  • Little Yuppie Nerds

    Google is about greed. Google is also part of a Green energy movement that is being rigged by industry.

    As for public support......... How much would there be if the industry did not lie about turbine impacts, lie about energy output/potential, and stopped their false promotion of turbines being a solution to our energy needs? There would be very little support.

    This is why they need to invest $2.65 million in a energy lobbying group. The impacts do not matter to these little wealthy office dwelling nerds. They just want part of the action.
    Ignorance, fraud and obscene profits are keeping this industry alive. Its time for folks to to wake up and realize the truth. Search the internet (use Bing) and you will realize that a major resistance movement towards wind is developing across the world. Especially in the Northeast.
    • Rant != useful comment

      Seriously? If you think anyone involved in renewables is making "obscene" profits what are the fossil fuel industry titans making in your estimation?
      • Fossil Fuel is not slaughtering off bird populations

        Fossil Fuel is not slaughtering off bird populations and rigging mortality studies so they can hide it. It has been going on for over 28years.
  • Energy

    This is EXACTLY what this country needs, more "smart" devices that will turn off the A/C on those hot days when the greedy rich are staying cool inside. This is the kind of forward thinking progress is needed in this country, putting the well-being of the masses ahead of so-called "induhvidual" rights, so we can all move beyond that outdated and embarrassing relic of a document that is the U.S. Constitution and be a FAIR and modern society.
  • Lobbying needs to be directed at utilty-scale storage solutions

    There has been a lot of political momentum building towards support for renewables and that is a good thing. The fiscal-cliff deal renewal of the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) is the latest example. But if you look carefully at what large scale deployment of renewables is doing to energy costs, grid instability, and the economics of maintaining thermal base load assets, there is trouble on the horizon (see There needs to be lobbying in support of a multi-national R&D effort to commercialize one or more energy storage solutions. There also needs to be pressure exerted on regional grid operators to recognize the importance of storage and afford them special treatment. If serious attention is not given to this issue there will be consequences which could lead to a backlash against renewables. That is not a result we want.
  • Hard for me to call Energy a single issue, but it is.

    Smart, or at least not as dumb, solutions are needed to provide secure, emergency tolerant (or at least not-fail-worst) electricity for the comfort of all Americans.

    As the disaster in NY and NJ has shown, America has a fail-worst electrical SYSTEM. The energy delivery system (if you include San Bruno) is out of control in every way.

    It would be nice to think that info provided by smart meters is all that is needed, however the interlocking mess that is caused by state Public Utility Commissions, local zoning and building codes with real estate interests lobbying 24/7 for highly profitable (for them) fail-worst solutions has to be addressed as a systems problem.

    I use the word problem instead of issue and I know what happens when issues are studied. Nothing!