Google is developing home electricity dashboards for the future smart grid.
The effort, which dubbed the Google PowerMeter, is being tested by Google employees. Google is just the latest player interested in part of the smart grid pie. While smart grids are being pitched as ways to save money and be environmentally correct there is also a need to create redundancy. There's also consensus that our current power grid is creaky.
What differentiates Google's approach is that it is taking smart grid intelligence to the consumer. In a blog post Google said:
Google’s mission is to "organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful," and we believe consumers have a right to detailed information about their home electricity use. We're tackling the challenge on several fronts, from policy advocacy to developing consumer tools, and even investing in smart grid companies. We've been participating in the dialogue in Washington, DC and with public agencies in the U.S. and other parts of the world to advocate for investment in the building of a "smart grid," to bring our 1950s-era electricity grid into the digital age. Specifically, to provide both consumers and utilities with real-time energy information, homes must be equipped with advanced energy meters called "smart meters." There are currently about 40 million smart meters in use worldwide, with plans to add another 100 million in the next few years.
Google's plan: Take the information from these smart meters and put it in a dashboard so consumers can see where the power is going. Enter the Google PowerMeter, which will show consumers their home energy information. Sounds handy--once it gets out of testing.